Coach is sure Derby can break their duck this season
IT might not come this weekend but head coach Roxy Fearon believes Derby will win a game this season.
Derby are rooted to the bottom of the National League Three Midlands table, having lost all 16 fixtures so far, and looked certain to be relegated straight back to Midlands One East.
Fearon's second match in charge of the team ended in a 59-5 home defeat to leaders Ampthill last Saturday – and it does not get any easier.
Tomorrow, second-placed Sutton Coldfield are the visitors to Haslams Lane.
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Sutton have won 15 of their 16 league games, losing only once, and can overtake Ampthill if they win their game in hand against Derby.
When the sides met in September, Derby were beaten 60-5.
Sutton have the meanest defence in the division, having conceded 165 points at an average of around 10 per game.
"Sutton Coldfield will be another big challenge," said Fearon.
"In some respects, it's good to get these games out of the way.
"Again, we will set ourselves small markers as we look to improve.
"Then the week after, we go to Broadstreet, who we played well against last time.
"Hopefully, we will start to see a culmination of what we've been working on in the past few weeks.
"Time will tell if we learn from games like these. I would like to think we will.
"I do think we've got a win in us this season, if not several.
"But it's going to take a bit of time and I couldn't say when it is going to come."
Fearon was pleased to see some improvement against a formidable Ampthill side, compared with his first game since he and assistant Scott Johnson took over from Paul McCartin at Syston.
"The players are working hard and getting competitive," he added.
"It is taking time for the players to fully understand what Scott and I want from them.
"We're changing the way the team play – maybe a bit more open.
"But I'm happy with the guys we've got. They all want to learn and we can't ask for more than that.
"We've had good numbers turning up for training, so that's another positive.
"Lots of them are trying to prove a point and I want them to take that into the matches."
Ahead of the Sutton Coldfield game, Derby have injury doubts over hooker Jordan Goddard (shoulder), fly half Matt Down (ankle) and centre Mikey Robertson (calf).
Down missed the Ampthill match and was replaced by Nathan Burton, who has rejoined the club on loan from Leicester Lions.
"Nathan acquitted himself well in his first full game for quite a while," said Fearon.
"He will be an asset to us, if we can secure his services.
"He is available this weekend but after that, we're not too sure."
Jake Roome and Adam Wilson are unavailable this weekend but Charlie Esberger is back in contention.
Fearon has also promoted backs Sanjay Sharma and Ryan Milton to the squad after good performances for the seconds.