After securing a 10th place finish in the Championship last year, Derby County would have been hoping to launch a push for promotion during the current campaign.
However, the Rams' hopes of securing top-flight football were scuppered in the opening weeks of the season as they experienced a woeful start under the guidance of Phillip Cocu.
A continuation of their poor form resulted in the Dutchman being replaced by Wayne Rooney who was appointed manager on a permanent basis in January.
Although the 35-year-old initially made a positive start to his tenure by winning five of his first seven league games in charge of the Rams, his side's progress in the Championship has been halted by a concerning drop-off in performance levels in recent weeks.
Having suffered five consecutive defeats, Derby now find themselves in danger of being relegated to League One and will need to pick up positive results in their two remaining fixtures in order to stay above Rotherham United and Sheffield Wednesday in the second-tier standings.
Speaking on the latest episode of the Sky Sports EFL Podcast about the Rams' situation, David Prutton has admitted that Rooney's side are currently looking extremely fragile and that the players are ultimately responsible for their recent blip in form.
The 39-year-old said: "It is still [Rooney] his first job in management and he is still finding his way around why this club is like it is.
"There's lots of off-the-field things that are still staggering on of course but the responsibility lies with the players and there is a real fragility to them."
GIVEMESPORT's Joshua Cole says...
It is hard to disagree with Prutton's comments as Derby's players have ultimately failed to deliver the goods at the most important stage of the season.
Whilst Rooney should not be exempt from criticism, it was always going to be difficult for him to transform the Rams' fortunes and he hasn't been helped by injuries as he is currently unable to call upon the likes of Krystian Bielik and Lee Gregory.
With his side set to face Swansea City this weekend, it is imperative that the Derby boss is able to guide the club to a positive result at the Liberty Stadium as doing so could aide their chances of achieving survival.
However, if the Rams suffer yet another defeat in the Championship, it could provide their relegation-threatened rivals with a boost heading into the final day of the season.News Now - Sport News