It has been a season to forget for Derby County in the Championship who have struggled for consistency in recent months.
Despite initially making a positive start to life under the guidance of manager Wayne Rooney, a run of five consecutive defeats in the second-tier has resulted in the Rams being dragged into a relegation dogfight.
Whilst Derby are still in control of their own fate, anything less than a victory in their clash with Swansea City this weekend could allow Rotherham United and Sheffield Wednesday to move to within striking distance of them heading into the final day of the campaign.
Although on-the-field matters are currently the Rams' priority, the uncertainty surrounding their future has dominated the headlines this year.
Spanish businessman Erik Alonso is still waiting to see whether he has passed the EFL's Owners and Directors Test after agreeing to purchase Derby from Mel Morris earlier this month.
Due to delays relating to this issue, there were concerns that the Rams' players would not be paid on time this month.
However, according to Sky Sports News, Derby's squad will receive their wages on Friday as Morris has decided to foot the club's £1.2m bill this month.
The current Rams owner is thought to be reluctant to use his money to bankroll the club in the coming months as he looks to hand over responsibility.
A report by The Athletic earlier this week revealed that there is no get-out clause for Alonso if the club suffer relegation to League One and thus he is expected to be in charge of the club regardless of what division Derby find themselves in next season.
GIVEMESPORT's Joshua Cole says...
After failing to pay their players on time at the start of the year as they waited for Sheikh Khaled's deal to be finalised, Derby have clearly learned from this experience as they are set to avoid making the same error.
Whilst Khaled's takeover ultimately collapsed, it looks as if Alonso is set to lead Derby into a new dawn providing that he passes the checks put in place by the Football League.
By assuring their players that they will be paid on time, the Rams may be able to boost morale heading into their final two fixtures of the campaign.
Currently on a horrendous run of form in the second-tier, Derby simply have to step up their performance levels next month if they are to avoid the drop as their plans for the summer transfer window will drastically change as a result of relegation.News Now - Sport News