Derby County will turn up on Preston North End’s doorstep this weekend with a summer of change behind them.
The Rams can boast a new head coach, nine new players and a new owner since missing out on a place in the play-offs last season.
Former Real Madrid No.2 Paul Clement is tasked with the job of improving their fortunes on the pitch, with Mel Morris running the show behind the scenes after completing his purchase of the club last week.
Strengthening the squad has not been cheap, Derby estimated to have spent more than £20m bringing in their new recruits.
That is the biggest outlay in the Championship, signalling a determination to mount a sustained promotion push.
The two who arrived on transfer deadline day, Bradley Johnson and Jacob Butterfield, cost £10m between them.
Johnson, a midfielder who Simon Grayson managed when in charge of Leeds, was a club record £6m signing from Norwich City.
Butterfield came from Huddersfield for £4m.
Other notable buys have been Tom Ince, the Rams paying Hull £4.75m for the ex-Blackpool man after he was on loan last season.
Jason Shackell came from Burnley for upwards of £3m and Andreas Weimann from Aston Villa for £2.5m.
Joining them in the arrivals lounge have been Chris Baird, Scott Carson, Alex Pearce and Darren Bent on Bosmans.
New owner Morris, who became chairman in May and then set about the process of buying the club, acknowledges that money being thrown around by some Championship clubs is on the high side as they chase a place in the Premier League.
Morris said: “Am I happy with pricing the way it is in the Championship? No, of course not.
“We knew a year ago, probably with the Ross McCormack deal to Fulham (£11m from Leeds United) that things were never going to be the same again.
“The new Premier League TV money deal means clubs are now chasing this big pot.
“Why, I don’t know, because although the TV deal goes up this year, it won’t make much of a difference, because all that will happen is the price of the players will go up and their salaries will go up, so it won’t actually change the dynamic that much.
“What it does mean is that when clubs come down, we’re having a lot more well-funded clubs to compete against.
“That will push the price of players up further, so we’ll have to think about how we will compete with that.”
Derby have yet to break any pots in terms of their results this season.
Their first four league games were drawn, then they were beaten 2-1 at home by Leeds before the international break.
Throw in an exit from the Capital One Cup at the hands of Portsmouth and it has not been the start desired in that part of the East Midlands.
Head coach Clement – brother of Neil Clement who had a loan spell with PNE in 1999 – is looking for a change in results as action resumes after the international break.
Said Clement: “We have got to be better – we don’t think this is good enough at this stage.
“The players have to be men and accept that the standards haven’t been at the level that we want.
“We will continue to work hard on the training field to make sure that we get a victory against Preston North End.”
Derby are certain to give debuts to new boys Johnson and Butterfield against PNE.
Having helped Norwich win promotion from this division in May, Johnson wants to do likewise with the Rams.
“I have done it before with Norwich but that is in the past now and I cannot live on that,” said Johnson.
“I know I have to work because the Championship is a hard league and it is even harder this year.
“You can tell the club want to go up, you can tell they are really going for it and I am delighted to join the squad.”