Though the play-offs might be out of reach, these next three games are still important for Gary Rowett as he tries to mould his vision for Derby County moving forward.In the short-term, there are three different factors that he wants to see as he aims to finish the 2016/17 season on a high.
He wants to see a fighting spirit, he wants to give opportunities and he wants to strike the right balance.
The former point is a trait he was particularly pleased with in the recent 1-1 draw with Huddersfield Town on Easter Monday.
Against a stubborn Terriers side, the Rams kept plugging away before they got their equaliser with just two minutes of normal time to spare through Jacob Butterfield’s deflected strike, which cancelled out Collin Quaner’s early deft finish.
More than anything, Rowett, the 43-year-old Derby manager, wants to see his Derby side fighting to very end of every match – no matter what is riding on it.
He told dcfc.co.uk: “We want to go and win all of these games, it’s important that we show a resilience that we can take with us moving forward.
“I think it’s easy at this stage of the season to not have that.
“What I particularly liked about the Huddersfield game is that the players kept trying to attack, they kept trying to make something happen and we got our just rewards in the end.
“I want to see more of that between now and the end of the season.”
The next big point now is opportunity.
Rowett said after the draw with Huddersfield that, with the play-offs now out of reach, the next three games will give him the chance to look at other players in his squad, as well as other formations.
He was already fully aware of the talent that there is within Derby’s ranks, but is now keen to find the right balance that will allow him, and his squad, to hit the ground running when they return for the 2017/18 campaign.
Rowett added: “I think we’re at a point now where we can give other players the opportunity to show what they can do.
“The reality is that I knew exactly what was required and we knew that before the first game we had here.
“I think the big thing is we’ve got a group of very good footballers but I think we need to find the right balance and that’s in line with what the Championship needs.
“We want to finish the season strongly but the reality is when we start next season that is when we are going to be truly judged and we’ll be ready.”
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