DUFFERS' DIARIES: Frank Lampard: A risk worth taking for the Rams?
It's looking more and more likely that Derby County will be taking the plunge and appointing Frank Lampard as their new manager in the coming days.
I say 'taking the plunge' because, let's face it, it's quite the gamble potentially being taken by the Rams given Lampard has, as yet, no managerial experience.
However, managers all have to start somewhere, and maybe this could end up being something of an inspired choice by the Derby hierarchy if indeed it is Lampard who gets the nod.
The evidence points to that being the case, with Lampard having admitted advanced talks with the club and his presence at the League Two play-off final on Monday apparently being down to Derby having requested a pass for him to attend, it would seem on some kind of scouting mission.
But just how risky would appointing Lampard be, once the inevitable fanfare dies down and the football takes over?
Great players do not necessarily great managers make, that's been emphasised on many occasions in the past, but Lampard seems from the outset to be someone who won't necessarily fall into that category. His punditry is well-informed and he's always seemed an articulate and erudite character, both on and off the pitch. Those things alone of course won't make him a world beater, but they're a good start.
He's keen to succeed, and like his England midfield partner Steven Gerrard - another seemingly high risk appointment as head coach at Glasgow Rangers - he could now have a decent stage upon which to show his credentials.
It's not just high risk for the Rams either. Failure to any great degree could end Lampard's managerial career before it gains any momentum.
So just what could Lampard bring to the table?
His playing career was as celebrated as they come - 106 England caps, numerous Champions League, Premier League and cup medals and having played under some of the top bosses in the game, from whom he must have learned plenty.
His little black book will be bulging with top drawer contacts who could lend a hand when it comes to players, although said contacts are only as useful as the players they can provide so he will have to be wary from just where he seeks help.
His relative lack of experience could be a plus - plenty of coaches with prior experience have come and gone through the door quickly at Pride Park in recent years, emphasising that kind of factor alone doesn't automatically make the key fit.
Then, of course, there's the interest it will generate in the club if he comes in, which will at least create a real buzz around the city in the short-term and maybe beyond if things go well.
There are potential downsides to Lampard being appointed too.
It's hard to see him being a long-term option for Derby, thus failing to arrest the remarkable turnover of managers in recent seasons. Should Lampard succeed, it's likely he'll be snapped up by a bigger club before too long, and should he fail then the Rams are never slow to wield the axe no matter who is in charge. Just how long he'll be given to prove his worth if the latter scenario emerges, only time will tell.
The reported slashing of budgets at Derby will also hamper Lampard, whose own contract will surely be heavily incentivised to ensure he's rewarded for success but not failure. A heavy reliance on young players or some shrewd recruitment from the lower divisions or abroad could well be the way forward if the pounds and pence aren't there to lure top quality and proven stars.
Expectations will need to be managed. Promotion shouldn't necessarily be a requirement, particularly given the reported budget cuts, and supporters will have to be realistic depending on what kind of squad Lampard builds. Key players from the season gone by, particularly the big earners, could well be on their way out unless any are prepared to take a pay cut in order to work with such a household name.
It all remains hypothetical, of course, given Lampard is yet to be confirmed in the role, but with the evidence pointing towards that happening before too long, and presumably before Lampard takes off to Russia for his World Cup TV duties should he still decide to take part, it could be a very interesting few months ahead.