Meet the opposition | Derby County
Swansea City host Derby County at the Swansea.com Stadium on Saturday. Here we take a look at the visitors’ form and key figures.
What’s their story?
Initially founded in 1884 as an offshoot of the Derbyshire County Cricket Club, the club is one of 12 founder members of the Football League and one of just 10 clubs who have never been relegated out of the Football League system.
The 1970s provided something of a heyday for the club. They won the top-flight title twice in that decade and reached the European Cup semi-finals. Their sole FA Cup win came in 1946.
In the entirety of their 138-year history, they have only been outside of the top two flights for four seasons in total.
How’s their form?
Not so good. After an excellent December in which they picked up three wins in four games and started to claw back the gap to safety, their form has dropped off a bit.
In their past 10 games, they have picked up 10 points with three wins and a draw. With six games remaining, they need to close a nine-point gap if they want to avoid a fifth season outside the top two flights.
A late goal secured an important 1-0 win over Preston North End last time out in a feisty match which saw Derby’s Max Bird and Preston’s Liam Lindsay both sent off.
Who’s the boss?
Wayne Rooney. England’s all-time leading goal scorer was still a player at the Rams when he initially formed part of a four-man interim coaching team put in charge of taking the team following the dismissal of former manager Phillip Cocu.
Soon after, Rooney stepped down from playing and took sole charge of the team. He took over with the Rams six points adrift of safety.
A mixed season followed. Derby climbed as high as 18th and eight points clear of the drop at one point, but ended up surviving on the final day of the season by taking a point from relegation rivals Sheffield Wednesday. In the current campaign, Rooney has led a valiant charge by the Rams players to overcome a 21-point deduction.
As a player, Rooney is among the Premier League greats.
He scored a memorable first league goal for hometown club Everton against Arsenal when aged just 16 years, 11 months and 26 days old, making him one of the youngest Premier League goal scorers.
He went on to score a further 207 Premier for Everton and Manchester United - which puts him second on the list of all-time Premier League goal scorers.
After a trophy-laden 13 years at United, he had a second spell at Everton before joining DC United and eventually Derby.
Who’s the captain?
Tom Lawrence. Wales international Tom Lawrence was appointed as club captain at the start of season and has been key in their battle for survival. He has racked up 10 goals and five assists (a club high for both).
The Wrexham-born midfielder was a product of the Manchester United academy but made a permanent switch to Leicester City in 2014. A series of loan
spells followed before he joined Derby permanently in 2017. He has clocked up more than 180 appearances for the Rams in his five years at Pride Park.
On the international front, he has represented Wales 23 times scoring three goals.
Who are the key men?
As well as the skipper, whose 15-goal involvements make this his best season in a Derby County shirt to date, there are plenty of other players who have been key in the fight for survival so far.
Curtis Davies is an important figure in defence. The 37-year old’s experience is vital to Wayne Rooney's side especially after Phil Jagielka’s departure in January. As well as being a key defensive figure, he has chipped in with four goals.
Right-back Nathan Byrne’s energy and directness has caused plenty of teams problems this campaign and he is often involved in the best of Derby’s play down that side. He has been one of the teams most consistent performers.
Derby will be without the services of influential academy graduate Max Bird who is serving a three-game ban after being sent off last time out.