Former Aberdeen captain Graeme Shinnie must be patient as he waits for his chance at Derby County.
The former Dons skipper was one of Frank Lampard’s final signings as Derby boss when he joined the English Championship club in the summer but since moving to Pride Park Lampard has departed the club to take charge at Chelsea and his departure has left Shinnie struggling for first-team action under new Rams manager Phillip Cocu.
Shinnie was a mainstay at his former club but has yet to feature in the Championship for his new side, with his only appearance coming a week ago in a Carabao Cup win against Scunthorpe United.
Shinnie failed to make the matchday squad for Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Stoke City in the Championship and played the full 90 minutes for the Rams’ under-23 side in a 1-0 win against Southampton on Monday.
Cocu knows the former Aberdeen and Caley Thistle midfielder has found himself in a difficult position but says Shinnie can still force his way into his plans.
The Derby manager said: “He wasn’t signed by me, that’s true.
“He is playing with the under-23s. He just has to work a little bit longer with me and with my staff to find the right way to work together.
“He has his qualities, but we have a lot of players with good qualities. That is why there is competition inside the team.
“Sometimes, players can be disappointed and out of the team, or with the under-23s, then the next game they can be in.
“That is also depending on themselves and how they perform during games and during training sessions.
“Everybody is used to competition inside a team. If you don’t have that, players can get really comfortable and that is not good, either.
“I also believe that every player needs the possibility of playing minutes in a team.
“If you don’t have any prospect of playing, it will be very hard to keep your motivation.
“We will work with all players, we sit down with all players to see what they do well or what they can improve.”
While Shinnie waits for his chance, Max Lowe, who was at Pittodrie last season while on loan from Derby, has broke into the first team under Cocu.
Lowe started the season as arguably the third-choice left-back at the club.
However he has featured at right back in the absence of the injured Jayden Bogle.