How Derby County could be relegated over Easter bank holiday weekend

Pride Park Stadium Credit: ITV Central

For most supporters, the thought of dropping out of the top two tiers of English football is a nightmare.

Without wanting to be disrespectful to clubs in League One and below, the game is at a completely different level.

The financial rewards are fewer, national airtime reduced and some fallen giants have struggled to find their way back.

For every Manchester City, Leeds United and Southampton who are now back in the top tier, there's a Bolton or Charlton who once were in the richest League in the world and now look to be nowhere near returning. 

But Derby County fans will quite rightly take a different approach.

Relegation could well be confirmed by the end of Easter weekend, but don't expect supporters to be too downhearted about that.

Pride Park Stadium

For them, there's been something bigger at stake - the future of the club. 

When Derby were deducted 21 points earlier this season, most saw the Rams all but relegated.

It's a credit to manager Wayne Rooney and his players that they have fought and competed and at times, come within a few points of escaping the bottom three.

What most saw as inevitable suddenly became about a miraculous escape. 

From the middle of December to the middle January, the Rams went five unbeaten in the League- winning four of those.

That run included wins against then-promotion chasing Stoke City, West Brom and current play off candidates Sheffield United. 

The issue was always going to be consistency as Rooney's side struggled with the loss of key players due to the EFL regulations.

Pride Park Stadium Credit: ITV Central

Most notable was the loss of centre back and former England international Phil Jagielka. Had results been a bit better, Derby would still be in with a very good chance.

But two wins in their last nine has taken them from the edge of glory, to that of League One. It's important to say that it is not over yet.

A huge win against promotion contenders Bournemouth in November, shows what some of these players are capable of.

But it's likely that time is now running out on Derby's stay in the Championship. And yet time is now on their side when it comes to the future.

For months, it looked like the club could go out of business and be kicked out of the English Football League.

Now the Rams have a preferred bidder in Chris Kirchner who looks to be engaging with fans and appears serious about taking control of the club and bringing about stability.

This is the news Derby supporters want to hear the most - that they still have a club next season. And which Division they are in is very much secondary.

There's always a chance of rising from League One all the way back to the top, there's no chance of that if the club no longer exists.

I know which scenario Rams supporters would prefer.