Paul Jewell definitely has a task on his hands, becoming only the second manager in Premier League history to keep his side up after it was sitting bottom at Christmas.
The only manager to do it so far was Bryan Robson at WBA. But Jewell is making positive moves, which for Rams fans is definately a good sign.
The acquisition of Emanuel Villa from the Mexican League is one. The other is Danny Mills on loan from Manchester City.
Could Villa do for Derby what Tevez did for West Ham? Mr. Jewell may be banking on that—but at the same time, he already has a team that this season has played some quality football and been unlucky.
Maybe these players can change that streak, and complete the club's goal of survival. If Jewell can pull this off, he will be looking at some serious offers again from major clubs—but after bouncing back from burn-out at the end of last season, perhaps he just can do it again and then relax.
I myself am betting on Jewell to succeed. I have a growing belief that Derby will stay up, and even pull off some upsets in the coming weeks. Teams are going to play them and not be as wary as they should—and then get stung. It is a classic footballing scenario: The team everyone writes off comes back, and blah blah blah.
I would not be surprised to see Derby stay up at the end of the season—but a few shockers in the teams that go down. You heard it here first.