Many - including us - tipped the perenniel strugglers for the wooden spoon in 2011, but despite sacking coach John Morris in the middle of a game they managed to finish fifth. Will 2012 bring further improvement or a return to more familiar surroundings?
On paper these appear to be few and far between. Martin Guptill and Usman Khawaja return to share duties as overseas player in the Championship. Captain Wayne Madsen is a solid opener, Wes Durston passed 1,000 runs last year, Chesney Hughes is a decent batting prospect and Jonathan Clare will look to build on a solid performance with bat and ball in 2011. Slow left arm spinner David Wainwright arrives from Yorkshire with much to prove to support the unheralded new ball pair of Tim Groenewald and Tony Palladino who shared 100 Championship wickets last season.
Last year's captain Luke Sutton has retired. Attack leader Palladino could miss the start of the season with a broken jaw. That and any other injuries could severely hamper their chances as strength in depth is an alien concept with the county. Guptill and Khawaja apart, the batting looks decidedly brittle and lacking in quality.
Jonathan Clare made the great leap forward in 2011 with just shy of 700 Championship runs at 33 and 43 wickets at 27, elevating him to the ranks of a genuine all-rounder. Can he build on this in the coming season?
Look out for
How Wainwright fares after his move from Yorkshire. Two seasons ago he was being talked about as a possible England player but his form and confidence then vanished. If they return then Derbyshire's bowling attack could surprise in its potency.
6th - Mid-table obscurity, but Derbyshire will take that with both hands.
2011 County Cricket Review: including Heroes of the Season, Best and Worst XIs, and a whole host of other nonsense
County Championship 2011 Preview - Derbyshire
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