Two trips to Hull within a few days has seen us make progress in the Carabao Cup and return home with three valuable points to elevate us into the top four of the Championship table.
The cup game was one sided and the reward is a trip to Manchester United in the third round. It’ll see Frank Lampard matched up against his former boss at Chelsea Jose Mourinho (Provided he isn’t shown the door before the game).
Saturday we had to dig much deeper!
Nigel Adkins, the Hull City manager, making nine changes from the mid week clash and a better performance all round from our hosts. We dominated the first half for a change and a Martyn Waghorn penalty was the difference.
The Tigers were more dominant after the break and it looked like they might get something out of the game when they pulled level, but Florian Jozefzoon snatched a late winner to send all Rams fans home happy.
We are developing and evolving as a side despite Lampard having to make changes due to players picking up knocks. The depth of the squad has helped too. A run of wins is brilliant for the confidence of the team, but we must not get carried away just yet.
The league table at this stage of the season reflects those opening few fixtures. The difficulty of the tasks faced isn’t reflected and a better and more accurate picture will emerge after 14-15 games.
When we have played stronger sides such as West Brom, Middlesbrough, Swansea etc, we will be able to judge more accurately just how good our team is.
It may be that the fixture list has been quite kind to us with playing less fancied sides early on (with the exception of Leeds). This has allowed new signings to find their feet.
So far of the new signings, Jack Marriott has had to make do with a couple of cup games, Duane Holmes with a cameo mid week at Hull though he was very effective and theres been limited time for George Evans who picked up an injury in only his second game.
There will be a few headaches for Lampard too as other players return from the treatment room.
Curtis Davies will surely be expecting to start once fit, but Richard Keogh has now found form and Fikayo Tomori has grown into the other centre back position alongside him.
Jayden Bogle has impressed up to sustaining an able injury and Andre Wisdom will be in no mood to give up the right back spot.
There’s competition right throughout the team and that is healthy, though I do suspect the Ibuprofen’s may be needed when Lampard makes his selections given what he will have to choose from.