A surprise new candidate has been linked this week with the current Derby County manager’s job, which is still up for grabs.
The Rams are on the lookout for a new manager after the departure of Phillip Cocu during the international break.
The former Derby boss left the club by mutual consent, with a management team of Wayne Rooney, Liam Rosenior, Shay Given and Justin Walker taking over on an interim basis until a new man is found.
A new manager is not expected to be announced until the takeover by Sheikh Khaled bin Zayed Al Nehayan is officially given the green light in completion, but that hasn’t stopped speculation over who may take the position.
One of the names said to be on the list is Swansea City manager Steve Cooper with his side sitting fourth in the Championship table.
However, according to respected journalist Alan Nixon, various clubs, including Derby, have been put off by a ‘seven figures’ fee which it would take to get the manager out of his contract at the Liberty Stadium.
The Welsh outfit are two points adrift of league leaders Norwich, having picked up 22 points from their opening 12 games.
Cooper’s side managed to beat Rotherham 1-0 win their last league game on Saturday afternoon just gone.
Derby however remain bottom after losing to high flyers Bristol City 1-0, Famara Diedhiou getting the only goal of the game in the 78th minute.
Speaking of the links to Derby earlier in the week, Cooper didn’t give much away.
“I’m not one for, with respect, reading and looking at media,” he told WalesOnline.
“There’s certainly no comment from me on it.”
SKY BET ODDS:
Rafael Benitez – 3/1
Sam Allardyce – 7/2
John Terry – 5/1
John Gregory – 6/1
Wayne Rooney – 8/1
Steve Cooper – 12/1
Liam Rosenior – 14/1
Paul Cook – 16/1
Eddie Howe – 20/1
Steve McClaren – 22/1
Derby midfielder Max Bird feels there were plenty of positives to take from the defeat on Saturday.
“We are all disappointed in the changing room,” he admitted, chatting to RamsTV. “We felt like we should have won that game, never mind lost it. They had one chance and they scored it.
“We started the game well and then at half-time we sort of said that if we keep doing the same things, keep finding Lozza and Duane in those pockets, which was the game plan – from Tuesday onwards we have been working on that.
“We knew chances would come and we got in those positions but the end product wasn’t there or we just didn’t get the luck that we need at the minute.
“We have been working hard on the training, training has been fantastic this week, we have really been at it – everyone has been at it.
“Credit to the boys today, we are overall disappointed with the result, but it was a good performance to take back.”
Whilst it is a defeat for Derby who are still without a win since the start of October, Bird knows now is not the time for heads to drop in the changing room.
“I think we haven’t been good enough this season, that’s for sure but a fresh start now,” he said. “Training has been very good this week. There is positivity and everyone has had the freedom to go and do what they want to do an you can see that in the performance today.
“We got our key players on the ball in good areas and we had good chances. Unfortunately, we just couldn’t score that goal, but we will keep going, not let our heads drop. We can’t moan about refs not giving us decisions or stuff like that. We have got to keep working hard and our time will come.”
The Rams now have a quick turnaround as a they face a trip north to face Middlesbrough, aiming to kick start their season.
“We know there is going to be a lot of games coming up in a short space of time and after today’s performance that is probably a good thing,” he commented. “We want to get out there as soon as possible again and put in a performance like that because if we continue doing that we will get results.
“We have got to keep working hard in training, look back at the game and pick up on the tiny little details that weren’t there for us today and put that into Wednesday’s game.”
Liam Rosenior stressed for his Derby side to focus on the positives.
Speaking to RamsTV after the game, Derby’s Specialist First Team Coach said: “We win as a team and we lose as a team and right now we are losing games.
“I don’t think the players hid at all today. Every single player wanted the ball and had the courage to take the ball and that is a really difficult thing to do when you are in our situation.
“It hurts that we lost the game, but there are a lot of positives. I would be the first one accepting it if the players didn’t reach the levels of effort, determination, quality and desire, but today I cannot fault any single player for what they did out there.
“The players in the dressing room are hurting and myself, Wayne, Justin and Shay are hurting too. We said today about scoring the first goal and we played positive football. I think anyone can see what we tried to do today.
“We were not defensive, we tried to give the lads confidence in terms of believing in themselves and playing forwards.
“At times we were playing with five players up the pitch and that is what myself, Shay, Wayne and Justin believe in. The amount of crossing opportunities, balls across the box and shooting opportunities were really clear to see and it is just a matter now of confidence.
“We worked on getting numbers into the box, we got into some outstanding positions, and it is just sometimes that final bit and sometimes that is a lack of confidence when you are not winning games and scoring goals. But it will turn.”