Steve McClaren is set to bolster his defensive options, according to the Derby Telegraph, by signing Ryan Shotton on loan from Stoke City and then follow that up with a loan deal for Liverpool wonder-kid Jordon Ibe.

The Rams supporters have been suspicious about Derby’s centre back pairing of Richard Keogh and Jake Buxton for a while and their concerns were proved to have substance when the duo’s mistakes cost them in last seasons Play Off final. It now appears that Derby are to strengthen their back line options with the versatile Shotton, who can play anywhere across the defence and in the holding/central midfield roles, in order to help them in another promotion push.

Shotton’s ability to play in a variety of positions will also give Derby an answer to questions over their lack of depth in the holding midfield position; John Eustace is the only ” true” defensive midfielder, Mascarell and Hughes are not fully capable of the role, and due to his age, 34, there are concerns over his longevity.

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Shotton has a decent track record in the Football League; he scored 5 in 33 League One appearances for Tranmere in the 08/09 season and made 14 appearances for Wigan on loan in the Championship last season, scoring one goal. He also has 48 premier League appearances, scoring one and getting two assists, he has the same goal/assist record in 12 Europa League appearances.

Derby are also set to pip Bolton to the loan signing of Jordon Ibe from Liverpool. The 18 year old spent the second half of last season on loan at Birmingham, managing one goal and one assist in 11 appearances, helping them in escaping relegation. Bolton manager Dougie Freedman admitted on Friday that his chances of securing Ibe were drifting away and this could be due to Derby’s good relationship with Liverpool following Andre Wisdom’s  move last season.

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Derby are also searching for another attacking options having lost Patrick Bamford this summer and Ibe’s three goals and eight assists in 17 appearances for Liverpool’s U21s certainly represents the creativity the Derby could be looking to add for this seasons promotion charge.