Middlesbrough boss Jonathan Woodgate delivers Derby County verdict ahead of Pride Park meeting
Middlesbrough boss Jonathan Woodgate took inspiration from Derby County last season and still believes the Rams have a strong squad despite the departure of manager Frank Lampard.
Lampard received his first senior managerial role when he took charge of Derby in 2018, before leading them to the Championship play-off final in May.
Last season’s promise led to Lampard’s appointment at Chelsea in the summer, and the former England international was subsequently replaced by Phillip Cocu at Pride Park.
This season hasn’t started as well, though, with Derby sitting 16th in the table ahead of Saturday’s home meeting with Boro.
The Rams have also had to contend with an off-field issue after some of their players were involved in an ‘alcohol-related incident’.
It came after the likes of Mason Mount, Harry Wilson and Fikayo Tomori, who were all on loan at Derby last season, returned to their parent clubs.
Yet Woodgate, whose Boro side have also endued a difficult start to the season, knows that Saturday’s opponents can’t be underestimated.
“They’ve had an off-field issue to deal with but they are a good team,” said the Boro boss when asked about Derby.
“They got into the play-off final last season under Frank Lampard and had a really good squad, made a couple of changes and brought some players in.
“A couple of players went, Mount, Wilson, who are top Premier League players and Tomori of course. They brought in (Krystian) Bielik whose another good player.
“Every game in the Championship is difficult. It will be a test for us again against Derby on Saturday.”