Behind Enemy Lines: Derby County

MILLWALL are hoping to get their first league win of the season on Saturday as they welcome Frank Lampard’s Derby County to The Den.

The Lions have drawn their opening two games against Middlesbrough and Blackburn, and there was another draw on Tuesday before the EFL Cup penalty-shootout win over Gillingham.

Derby won their first game 2-1 at Reading before suffering a 4-1 loss to Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United last weekend.

Young midfielder Mason Mount – on loan from Chelsea – will be looking to make an impact, as will Liverpool youngster Harry Wilson. With such a big squad, Chelsea’s record all-time goal scorer is still figuring out his best XI for the Rams.

Lucas Ball spoke to Derby fan Robin Johnson ahead of the game.

Twitter: @robdog100

Why do you support the Rams?

I was born in Derby. I'm a strong believer in supporting the team where you were born. My granddad took me to my first Rams game at the Baseball Ground as a kid in the mid-1980s. We were in the old Third Division and beat Lincoln City 7-0.

What’s been your favourite season supporting Derby?

It would have to be the 1988-89 season. We finished fifth in the First Division as it was. We would've qualified for Europe if English clubs had not been banned at the time (after the 1985 Heysel disaster). That season we did the double over Arsenal, beat Everton, Spurs and Man United at Old Trafford. It was a great team. Peter Shilton in goal, Mark Wright centre-back and Paul Goddard and Dean Saunders up front.

We got no change out of Millwall that season though – they beat us home and away.

Do you think that Frank Lampard is the right man for the job?

It's too early to say. If Frank is half as good a manager as he was a player then we're onto a good thing.

Derby have tried everything else in terms of managers and it hasn't really worked in getting us over the line and winning promotion.

I sincerely hope it works out – but he has to be given time (something that's in ever-short supply in the game these days).

What are your expectations for this season?

Top six would be a good season, considering Frank's managerial inexperience.

Being a bit more realistic, probably mid-table. A complaint among the Derby fans last season was that the football under Gary Rowett wasn't good to watch. We’re hoping for something a bit more entertaining this season.

How would you assess the Rams’ transfer window?

Busy. In fact, far busier than expected. Nine new signings. What was a surprise was how few players left the club.

Many of us were expecting us to offload a few. As a result, Derby have a huge squad – and Frank will do well to keep them all happy.

Who will be Lampard’s key men on Saturday afternoon?

So far, I've been particularly impressed with Mason Mount. He's already been among the goals, and despite his tender years (19), looks very assured. Millwall would do well to try to keep him quiet.

How would you assess this Millwall side?

I've always regarded Millwall as a dangerous side. In fact, dangerous full stop after our encounter in the play-off semi-finals in the 1990s!

Neil Harris is an excellent manager – and I think the whole league were impressed by what he achieved last season.

For me, Steve Morison is Millwall's key man. Always likely to get a goal against you.

What’s your predicted Derby starting XI?

Tough one. With all the players now at his disposal, I don't think even Frank knows what his best side is yet. I'll have a go, though.



Wisdom, Keogh, Tomori, Malone

Bryson, Johnson

Mount, Lawrence, Wilson


Finally, a score prediction?

Millwall 1-1 Derby

Graphic: @ShedCreative