Derby the better side first half thanks to their best 45 minutes for some time, but no goal to show for it.
He has scored five goals this season, is capable of more and can (on his day) boost Derby’s attacking threat significantly.
Bristol City’s nervy draw against Ipswich Town last night has left the door to the Championship’s top six ajar for Derby County, invitingly. It is at this stage of the season when nerves kick in, on and off the pitch, and results more than performances are all important. Derby have taken four points from their last two games, much-needed after a run of three straight league defeats, A win tonight would take that to seven points from nine, and leave Frank Lampard’s team in a good position.”
Frank Lampard hails Ashley Cole impact at Derby County and tips Mason Mount to be Chelsea and England star
Tom Ince returned to haunt his old club as he fired 10-man Stoke City to a 2-1 victory over Derby County.
Sam Clucas gave the Potters a first-half lead at the bet365 Stadium but the home side then had Peter Etebo sent off with around an hour still to play.
Harry Wilson levelled with another fine free kick early in the second half, only for Ince to hit a 64th-minute winner.
It gave Gary Rowett all three points on his first meeting with the club he left to take charge of Stoke in May.
As well as being a tough result for Derby to take, they also had skipper Curtis Davies carried off on a stretcher just before the break.
Derby have just moved into the play-off positions so they have a little bit extra to fight for, so it will be a tough game but so is every game in the Championship. We certainly won’t take it lightly and I can’t imagine Derby will either. There’s a lot of expectation about Derby, just as there is here.”
It is hard to comment on other clubs in any real detail because only the manager there knows,” said Lampard. “All you can say is that they (Stoke) did invest heavily in the summer and they had a relatively strong squad already. Again, it doesn’t mean anything but if you look at the individuals they have that can win games, then, yes, they are competing and you have to give the manager some time to try and make his imprint on the team. It doesn’t come overnight, but they are a team that at any moment in this league could go on a run of wins, and then see themselves in the hunt to move up the League quickly. We have seen it with many a team this year. No-one should be writing them off.”
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The Derby boss is pleased with the young and old heads in his squad as he targets promotion to the Premier League in his first season in management
The former Chelsea duo reunited at Pride Park this season after Lampard signed Cole from LA Galaxy on a deal until the end of the season.
Now 38, ex-England ace Cole has admitted he is likely to retire at the end of the season, but his contributions remain invaluable to his one-time club and international teammate
Speaking on Drivetime with Adrian Durham and Darren Gough, the Chelsea legend admitted the influence of having a fellow Champions League winner in the dressing room has been a huge help.
He said: In terms of being a winner and being around the block and bringing an experience to the group – and we are quite a young group in a lot of ways this year.
I just felt that, not just playing-wise because Ashley is always going to be helpful to me playing-wise, but the way he is as someone who is going to help us.
For the players to see someone who has won the lot, but be humble, be first in at training and working on his game by putting pressure on himself day in and day out.
And then to be vocal in team meetings and speak the truth and stand up and say things in front of people has been brilliant for me to have a player that can send that message to the players.
So thats been great and Ive enjoyed working with him in that sense and its not been a problem the transition from playing together and then him being a player while Im managing.
After his appointment in the summer, Lampard moved to inject more energy and pace into his squad and he is hopeful it will pay off this season, with County sitting seventh and battling for a play-off spot in the Championship.
“We had a group which was pretty old in terms of average age. That is not necessarily a bad thing but it felt to me the right thing to do was to try and invest in youth, whether that is loans or academy players coming through or players we could bring in,” he said.
One of Derby’s most impressive performers this season has been Mason Mount, the 20-year-old midfielder on loan from Chelsea.
Mount has already been called up to the senior England side and Lampard is convinced he is heading to the very top.
“In the modern day, he has got every box ticked in terms of his attributes,” said the Chelsea legend.
“This year has been a great learning curve for him in the Championship, which is a tough league.
“What he does give is a real energy off the ball. His energy and desire to win the ball back is brilliant and then when you talk about the talent he has, he has everything to go right to the top.
“The England call-up he got will come again. His attitude and hunger is something that really pleases me.
“My aim is to send him back to Chelsea and go ‘there you go, you are one or two or three steps closer to their first team”.”
Derby are in with a real shot of promotion in Lampard’s first season at the helm, with a play-off spot in reach.
“It is not quite in our hands, but to say we have ten games to have a real crack at this and try and get in the play-offs and have a real go at going up will not be just great for myself but great for this group players and great for the fans here because they have had ten years out of the Premier League now and are absolutely desperate.
“Mel Morris deserves a shout out because he has invested so heavily in this club for the last few years with all the intention of getting us up because he cares for the club and is a fan and it hasn’t quite happened.