Gary Rowett says he has some good options to call upon in his Derby County squad – and he’s looking to utilise them in the final three-game week before the two-week international break.
Derby head to Bolton Wanderers in the Sky Bet Championship on Saturday to kick off another busy week of action.
They will then travel to League 2 Grimsby Town in their re-arranged Carabao Cup First Round tie next Tuesday, before rounding off the first month of the season with a short trip north to take on Sheffield United at Bramall Lane.
Rowett shuffled his pack for Tuesday’s 1-0 home victory against Preston North End, Derby’s first victory of the 2017/18 campaign, by making three changes from the 2-0 loss to Wolves.
Marcus Olsson, Matej Vydra and David Nugent came into the side and all made an impact on the game at Pride Park Stadium, as the Derby boss moved from a 4-3-3 formation to a 4-2-3-1 system.
That’s exactly what Rowett is looking for from his squad this week; options to call upon and an impact from every single player that steps onto the pitch.
It’s something that the 43-year-old discussed at length last season following his appointment in March, insisting he didn’t want Derby to be set to one specific formation and way of playing.
He told RamsTV: “We’ve got some good options and I think that what we’ve got to try and do is use those options and utilise them in the right games at the right times.
“A three-game week is often the time to try and get those decisions right.
“It’s those options that we want. That impact on the pitch from the starting team and the impact that we’ve seen from all of the substitutes; we saw it against Preston.
“There are going to be games that suit certain players. For example, I felt that the game against Preston was more suited towards David Nugent, more so than Chris Martin, and that proved to be the case.
“There was more space behind the back four and we needed to exploit that quickly with a striker and we know that Nugent has those attributes.
“Having said that, there will be other games where they suit Chris more. Games where we feel it is tight, teams are defending deep and we need someone to play off.”
Another option Rowett has to call upon is new signing Tom Lawrence.
The forward signed from Premier League Leicester City on Tuesday and he could make his debut in Saturday’s game at Bolton.
He was unavailable for the win over Preston but watched from the stands as Derby claimed the points.
He said: “If Tom had been available against Preston, it might have been that we would have started him.
"As it is, after a good win and a good performance we might have the luxury of involving him in the squad and maybe not having to start him.
“We will see what the game is on Saturday and if I feel that it’s the right game for Tom then I will put him straight in the team. It is as simple as that.”