DERBY COUNTY have made a massive statement of intent after pulling off a hat-trick of ambitious signings.
Former Premier League trio Conor Hourihane, David McGoldrick and James Chester have all committed themselves to the Rams’ revolution under new owners Clowes Developments.
Despite having to comply with strict EFL rules over transfers, interim boss Liam Rosenior has managed to lift supporters’ spirits with his ambitious triple swoop following Wayne Rooney’s resignation as boss.
Hourihane and Chester have both won 35 caps for the Republic of Ireland and Wales respectively while McGoldrick represented the Republic of Ireland 14 times.
McGoldrick, 34, has scored 125 in more than 500 senior games and had no hesitation signing for the Rams despite previously playing for bitter rivals Nottingham Forest.
The vastly experienced striker said: “It’s a massive club with a big pull and I wanted to be part of this massive project.
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“I’m a Nottingham boy so I know the history and I know the rivalry they have with Nottingham Forest.
“I’m a Notts County fan myself but I have watched many big names players here over the years, such as Paulo Wanchope and Fabrizio Ravanelli, so I know the great strikers that have already played here.
“I still feel as hungry and ambitious as ever and I know I can still play at the top level. There were other offers which were probably more lucrative but I just felt this was a big pull and perfect for me.”
His Republic of Ireland teammate Hourihane also had a huge appetite to join the Rams – after bumping into Rosenior while enjoying a family meal.
The former Aston Villa midfielder signed a two-year-deal, after a successful loan at Barnsley and said: “I was out for lunch in a restaurant with my wife and two kids and Liam just happened to be in there – perhaps it was a little bit of fate.
“We got talking for 5 or 10 minutes after my kids ran up to his table and caused a bit of noise.
“Lo and behold six weeks later here I am.
“I’m obsessed with football and what the club did last year was fantastic. I know it’s not been easy but we leave that behind now and it’s full steam ahead.”
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Wales defender Chester signed a one-year contract after leaving Stoke City, where he took his total league appearances to more than 400.
He said: “The club being in League One wasn’t really something that crossed my mind.
“I still believe I can play higher but the pull of everything I mentioned and playing at such a nice stadium every other week far outweighed anything else.
“The squad last year formed a real bond with the fanbase last season and it’s important for us as a new squad to maintain that and hopefully give them something to look forward to.
“Conor Hourihane as well, he’s someone I know really well and I was at his wedding less than two weeks ago, so I’m excited to be reuniting with him also.”