Championship football is back for the 2018-19 season and Derby kicked things off on Friday evening with a trip to face Reading.
The match was Derby’s first under the tenure of England and Chelsea legend Frank Lampard, who has a long, gruelling campaign ahead of him in the second-tier – which at times will feel a long way off the Premier League comforts he enjoyed as a player.
After losing in the playoff semi-finals last season, the Rams will be vying for promotion once again this season and have plenty to think about following the 2-1 victory over Reading.
While some impressed, others fell short of expectations and we have identified one winner and one loser from the first Championship match of the year.
Winner: Mason Mount
Signed on-loan from Lampard’s old stomping ground at Chelsea, Mason Mount has already shown signs of learning from the ex-England international and Derby’s equalising goal came from a pot-shot from distance – which, admittedly, Vito Mannone should have done a lot better with.
There is a lot more to come from the 19-year-old talent but the early signs are promising, especially for a side who looked like they needed more youthful flair towards the back end of last year when Derby entered the business end of the campaign.
In the Eredivisie with Vitesse last season, Mount netted nine goals in 29 matches and will be encouraged after scoring on his debut for Derby.
Loser: Richard Keogh
The weakest area of Frank Lampard’s side heading into the last few days of the transfer window is certainly in the heart of defence, as shown by Richard Keogh’s struggled in the match at the Madejski Stadium – regularly conceding possession, including for Reading’s opening goal.
Lampard seems to want his side to play out from defence this season but Keogh struggled with that area of his game and the 31-year-old’s performance has raised concerns, especially as Derby lack significant depth in this area.
Derby can take advantage of the loan market until the end of the month but may look to land a permanent addition before Thursday’s deadline.