Derby County’s struggles last season are well documented. On the pitch, their struggles nearly saw them relegated to League One.
Derby County fans would be quick to inform anyone of the backroom issues that were also a factor in their floundering form.
Two failed takeovers and irregularities linked to infringements of the EFL’s FFP regulations saw the Rams being hauled over the coals by the Football League’s governing body.
Things in that particular area are still hanging over the Pride Park outfit this season.
Dark clouds from last season
Derby County ran foul of the EFL in two ways. One was over the sale of their stadium to their owner. The other was how they measured the decreasing value of players over the duration of their contracts.
The EFL charged Derby County on both counts and, initially, the Rams were cleared of breaking the EFL’s rules.
However, the EFL appealed and that appeal was partly upheld. Derby were issued with a £100,000 fine and a suspended six-point deduction put in place.
The Rams are currently under a transfer embargo. Amongst the sanctions is one that limits them to a squad of 23 players of ‘professional standing’. This means players having played at least one game in a recognised competition.
Derby County are already at that limit. This means that, ordinarily, they have no capacity in their squad for further signings.
Silver lining – worst circumstances
Not being able to add any players to their squad could hurt Derby over the course of the remaining 44 games of this Championship season.
However, injury to Colin Kazim-Richards in today’s 2-1 loss to Peterborough United could alter that according to emerging reports.
Derbyshire Live’s Richard Cusack writes that Derby County could experience a silver lining linked to Kazim-Richards’s injury.
He quotes Sky Sports presenter Michelle Owen in presenting the EFL’s view on the possibility of Derby County adding to their squad.
She reported a response from the EFL about whether Derby would be allowed to sign a player if Kazim Richards was injured for a prolonged period. Owen said:
“We have spoken to the EFL this afternoon following that injury to the Kazim-Richards and they have said ‘if it is a severe injury and if he is out long-term the EFL may be willing to make an exception to the rule based on medical advice.”
If Kazim-Richards is out for the rest of the season, and this is medically certified, then it would be a handicap to Deby County beyond their reach.
In that respect, the EFL granting the Rams an extra slot in their squad would be a sensible line of action to take.
It all comes down to the medical certification and the particulars that the EFL would no doubt insist upon.
It would have to be a season-ending injury to the Derby striker to force the EFL into granting them the capacity to bring in a replacement.
Anything other than that severe an injury and it is likely the EFL will insist that Derby muddle on as they are.