Derby County, Bird departs: What to expect from Derby County’s retained list this summer

Bird departs: What to expect from Derby County’s retained list this summer

Derby County will be turning their attentions to their summer plans following the conclusion of the 2023/24 League One campaign.

Derby County will be turning their attentions to their summer plans following the conclusion of the 2023/24 League One campaign.

Derby County had a campaign to remember this season, overcoming injury struggles and a strict business plan to achieve automatic promotion on the final day in order to return to the Championship at just the second time of asking.

Paul Warne gained his fourth promotion from the third tier, and his first with the Rams, as he led his side to a 2nd place finish despite a turbulent mid-season spell.

Derby County, Bird departs: What to expect from Derby County’s retained list this summer
Image courtesy of: PAUL CHILDS/REUTERS.

Once they reached the top two, however, they very rarely dropped out.

The East Midlands outfit smashed their record points tally as they finished on 92 points, seven better than their 85 achieved in the 2013/14 Championship campaign. They broke their record for most away league wins with 13, and also boasted the best defensive record in the entirety of the EFL by conceding just 37 goals in 46 outings.

Attention now turns to plans for the summer and a big part of that will be confirming decisions over out of contract players. With that said, here’s what to expect when Derby County announce their retained list…

Max Bird departs

Academy graduate Max Bird, who scored the opener in the Rams 2-0 victory over Carlisle United which clinched promotion, signed for Bristol City in the January transfer window but returned to his boyhood club on loan for the remainder of the season.

He made 200 appearances for Derby County following his first-team debut in 2017, and the 23-year-old could now face Warne’s men next season when the two sides meet in the second tier.

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Derby County, Bird departs: What to expect from Derby County’s retained list this summer
Image courtesy of: CARL RECINE/REUTERS.

Bird scored 10 goals and registered 17 assists during his time with the Rams and he will no doubt prove a tidy addition for the Robins in the near future. The end of his loan and subsequent return to Ashton Gate will be confirmed.

Players to be released

Martyn Waghorn returned to Derby County on a one-year deal at the beginning of the season following an appearance he made in Craig Forsyth’s testimonial match in pre-season. The pair are both out of contract at 34 and 35 and may have now played their last games for the club.

Youngster Darren Robinson has failed to break into the fold and could be forced to seek out a career elsewhere.

Fringe youngster Kwaku Oduroh seems nailed on to depart, as does third-choice goalkeeper Scott Loach.

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Derby County, Bird departs: What to expect from Derby County’s retained list this summer

Who is this?

Captain Conor Hourihane is another who may well be let go. The Irishman has previously spoken on his desire to coach and spent the final stretch of the season on the bench with Korey Smith preferred over him.

Loanees Ebou Adams and Tyreece John-Jules will return to Cardiff City and Arsenal, although talks are reportedly underway for Derby County to sign Adams on a permanent deal.

Potential extensions

Louie Sibley and Liam Thompson, both of whom came through the Rams’ youth ranks, had strong ends to the season and will have certainly put themselves in the window for a new deal.

Dwight Gayle was signed on a short-term deal to cover an injury crisis up top and made an excellent impact before suffering an injury. He showed quality of that from a higher division and returned to training before the end of the campaign so he may sign a new deal with Derby County.

Derby County, Bird departs: What to expect from Derby County’s retained list this summer
Image courtesy of: TONY O’BRIEN/REUTERS.

James Collins finished the season as the club’s top scorer on 19 goals in all competitions, whilst the earlier mentioned Korey Smith also put in a good shift in the final stretch. As a result, contracts could be on offer for the experienced pair.

The club are said to have the option of a further year in Tom Barkhuizen’s contract, he has been a good squad player since his arrival in 2022 and is likely to stay put.

Finally, Joe Wildsmith picked up League One’s Golden Glove award and will surely be offered new terms following promotion. He had previously stalled over a new deal amid interest from the second tier and the Premier League, but his decision may now have been made easier.

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