Derby County’s promotion hopes took a substantial hit last night after the Rams drew 1-1 with bottom-placed side Ipswich Town at Portman Road.
Frank Lampard’s team were largely disappointing in the contest and were somewhat fortunate to come away with anything for their efforts.
The Rams occupy seventh in the Championship and with other clubs dropping points, they could really have done with all three last night.
Lampard has done fairly well during his first stint in management.
It is fair to say that Derby want promotion, however, and whether or not that is achieved is what he will be judged on.
At the moment Lampard’s team face a battle with several clubs to secure a place in the top six.
The inexperienced boss had to beg, borrow and steal during a summer of budget trimming.
The likes of Harry Wilson and Mason Mount arrived on loan from Liverpool and Chelsea respectively, and have proved to two of the Rams’ better performers.
Squad depth could hamper Derby’s chances at promotion, as highlighted in their latest setback.
Lampard played Bradley Johnson and Andy King in midfield last night and neither looked up to scratch.
Johnson was signed for £6 million back in 2015, according to BBC Sport, whilst King arrived on loan during January.
At the back, Derby look short, whilst up front, David Nugent isn’t getting any younger and Jack Marriott is currently injured.
The Rams have solid first eleven but suspensions and injuries are seriously ruining their promotion hopes.
Lots of youngsters have been tasked with filling in and it remains to be seen of some of them are up to the task.
February and March have been traditionally tough periods for Derby and Lampard needs to find a way to buck the trend.
Squad depth is the underlying issue this time around at Pride Park.
The challenge for Lampard is to ensure that last night’s draw is merely a minor blemish.