A squashing 3-0 defeat by Saturday’s challengers Middlesbrough in late November proved something of a watershed minute in Derby County’s season.

It was a fourth consecutive defeat without handling to score a goal and extended the run without a win to nine matches.

The wretched efficiency left Derby bottom of the Champion and things had to change, and rapidly.

A four-man team of coaches had actually been in charge for 2 video games following manager Phillip Cocu’s departure. To have a ‘committee’ of coaches was a surprise decision by the club and much-needed clarity emerged when Wayne Rooney was set up as interim manager before he was selected supervisor last month.

His record considering that being put in sole charge of the side is six wins and 4 attracts 14 league components – 22 points from 42. Derby scored 11 goals in those 14 games and conceded eight. The Rams had taken just six point from the 13 previous components.

Rooney will not remember the Middlesbrough game with any fondness. He struggled along with the rest of the group and was used in a variety of different positions throughout the 90 minutes without actually affecting the game. The component was to be his last outing as a professional player after a shimmering career in which he reached lofty heights as record all-time scorer for Manchester United and England.

Now he is a manager, and management is his focus. He will keep in mind that unpleasant night for him and for the group at Middlesbrough and he will not wish to come out on the wrong side again when Neil Warnock’s Boro see Pride Park Stadium at the weekend.

The fixture has taken on higher significance following results on Tuesday night. Sheffield Wednesday’s house triumph over Wycombe Wanderers has pushed Derby back into the bottom three.

They will be eager to climb up back above the relegation line as soon as possible and a glance at the table reveals how tight the battle is down there. 3 groups are on 28 points, including Derby, while only 5 points separate Birmingham City in 23rd and Queens Park Rangers in 16th.

Derby have yet to endeavor greater than 18th this season and there is much hard work ahead if they are to retreat from trouble.

They will likewise be eager to erase a few of the memory of their late collapse in the last video game, the 3-0 defeat at Rotherham.

Derby had actually won the previous three games and tape-recorded three clean sheets. Another such run would be most welcome.

Middlesbrough has shown an important component as soon as already this season. It has become a crucial fixture again.