Preston North End next up for Frank Lampard after mixed start as Derby manager
Frank Lampard has already learned all about the ups and downs of the Championship ahead of his Derby side welcoming Preston to Pride Park on Saturday.
The Rams won their opening game under the former England and Chelsea star 2-1 at Reading thanks to Tom Lawrence’s goal at the death – giving the 40-year-old a dream start to life as a manager.
But then Lampard was brought firmly back down to earth with a thumping 4-1 defeat at home to Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds and a 2-1 reverse at Millwall last Saturday.
There was a sense of relief on Tuesday night then when Lampard picked up a first competitive win on home soil as fine strikes from Lawrence and Joe Ledley in nine second-half minutes handed Derby a 2-0 win over Ipswich.
“It’s early days and I’m certainly not going to get over-excited with the two wins we’ve got, we need to keep working as every win in this league is one you have to fight for,” Lampard said.
“The focus of the team was great on Tuesday night
“We kept playing even when people were asking why we were still trying to play, why we were still trying to find gaps.
“The players had the confidence and the personality to keep playing, to keep trying to find those holes for our attacking players to get into, and we were focused defensively to the point where Scott Carson only had two or three really comfortable saves.
“I thought the work-rate was good. Craig Bryson was running around at the end of the game, Jayden Bogle was still running, and Jack Marriott came on and gave an energetic 15 minutes.
“That is what I need and what I want from everybody. That’s why the players deserve a massive pat on the back.
“We also had to be patient and I thought we were brilliantly patient.
“We kept moving the ball, sometimes even if it was from side to side, trying to work an opening.”
Former North End favourite David Nugent looks to be part of Lampard’s plans despite speculation linking him with a loan move back to the North West and Bolton Wanderers.
The 33-year-old, who scored nine goals for the Rams last season, started on the opening day against Reading, only for a foot injury to halt his start to the season.
The experienced frontman returned off the bench with the consolation goal against Millwall, however, and was back in from the off for the win over Ipswich last time out.
One player set to miss out against the Lilywhites is George Evans, the summer signing from Reading having limped off just 27 minutes into his league debut in midweek with a knee injury.
Bradley Johnson had to sit out the game with his own knee problem, while defender Curtis Davies remains a week or two away from action due to a hamstring injury.
Tom Huddlestone could be in contention for the weekend however, having not featured at all so far this season due to a groin issue.