Meet the opposition | Derby County
As Swansea City get set to take on Derby County this Saturday, we take a closer look at the Rams.
What's their story?
There are few clubs in the English football pyramid with a deeper history than Derby County. Formed in 1884, the Rams were one of the 12 founding members of the Football League in 1888 and are one of 10 to have competed in every season of English football’s league system.
They have spent 65 of their 122 football seasons in the top-flight and collected a number of major trophies in the 20th century, earning two First Division trophies in the 1970s as well as their only FA Cup in 1946.
More recently, however, the Rams have struggled to maintain that success. Finishing with just one win and 11 points in the Premier League after the 2007-08 season, Derby have found themselves in the second division ever since.
The side escaped relegation by one point last season, and now find themselves bottom of the table following a 12-point penalty for going into administration.
How's their form?
The Rams sit 24th in the League table after their 12-point deduction, but their form has not been that of a side in a relegation fight.
They pulled their points tally back into the plus column with victory over Reading on Wednesday, a result that retained their unbeaten run at Pride Park this season.
Despite this, Derby have just managed to pull out of themselves out of the minus deficit and now sit on one point after a victory over Reading FC on Wednesday night.
In 10 games, the Rams have scored seven and conceded eight.
Who's their boss?
One of the greatest players of all time, Rooney swapped the pitch for the sideline in 2020, taking over at Derby County in an interim player-coach role before being appointed their permanent head coach in January 2021.
In his first season in charge of the Rams, Rooney helped them escape relegation by one point to remain in the Championship.
As a player, the forward’s accolades speak for themselves; he is both Manchester United’s (253 goals) and England’s (53 goals) top scorer, making almost 700 appearances for club and country. During his career, he also spent time with boyhood club Everton, D.C. United, and briefly as a player for the Rams.
Who's the captain?
Born in Wrexham, Lawrence left Everton’s academy at the age of eight to join boyhood club Manchester United. He progressed through the ranks at United, finally earning a professional contract with the Red Devils in 2012.
After making just one appearance for the club, the forward enjoyed spells at Carlisle, Yeovil, Leicester City, Rotherham, Blackburn, Cardiff City, and Ipswich before joining Derby County in 2017.
Since joining the Rams, the 27-year-old has made 135 league appearances, scoring 26 goals in the process.
Lawrence has also represented the Welsh national team since 2015, making 23 appearances for his country.
Who are the key men?
Curtis Davies is one of the most experienced members of Derby County’s first-team squad. A former England Under-21 international, Davies has amassed over 500 career appearances to date in club football since making his professional debut at Luton Town in 2003. Davies leads the Rams' goal tally this season with two goals and has helped the squad keep four clean sheets out of 10 games.
Max Bird is one of a host of exciting young talents in the Rams squad. Bird made his first-team debut for Derby at the age of just 16 in the EFL Cup, and made his senior league debut against Swansea City in December 2018. The youngster, who played for Derby's under-23s alongside current Swan Morgan Whittaker, was named EFL Apprentice of the Year in 2019.
Summer signing Ravel Morrison has already earned his place in Derby's starting XI. Morrison made an immediate impact for Derby, scoring on his competitive debut in the Carabao Cup first-round victory over Sky Bet League Two side Salford City.