It has been a whirlwind season for Derby County fans, with the poor start under Phillip Cocu, the failed takeover bid and the permanent appointment of Wayne Rooney as manager, there has been plenty to talk about with the East Midlands club.

Unfortunately for Rams fans, most of the talk has been negative, and their lack of firepower mixed with their defensive ineptness has been the main source of conversation as they find themselves just seven points clear of the bottom three.

While the seven-point gap seems a fairly big margin with just five games to go, relegation isn’t currently in their hands with Rotherham having four games in hand on the Rams and Coventry who are just below Derby have a game in hand and are only a point behind.

While Rooney’s side have been poor for the majority of the season, there was a spell where results were flowing and they got themselves out of a messy situation when they were five points adrift in the bottom three.

So what has gone so wrong in recent times for Derby?

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It seems as though they may have thought the job was done, getting to a point of being 11 points clear, you could forgive most teams for taking their foot off the gas slightly, but this is the Championship and it will eat you up and spit you out again if you aren’t consistent and careful.

That seems to be happening to the Rams currently, with one win in the last ten games after a run of six wins in eight, they have just seemed to not be able to find the ability to grind out any sort of positive results other than a 2-0 win over Luton Town.

The danger now for Rooney’s side is the games in hand for Rotherham, the Millers have six games in the space of 14 days and this could well determine if the Rams are to survive or not when it’s time to face Sheffield Wednesday on the final day.

Derby do have important games coming up against sides around them including Wednesday but it could well be the Birmingham City game on game week 44  that is the most important of the lot.

Rooney’s side need to dig deep again and find the grit and determination to have one last push and get themselves out of the relegation dogfight for good.

If the Rams are to turn the tide back into their favour and put it back into their hands, they need to pick up results and fast, starting with a result at Blackburn Rovers next week otherwise we could be seeing the Rams in the third tier of English football for the first time since 1986.