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Tuesday, August 3, 1999 Published at 10:32 GMT 11:32 UK

Derby County: Goal hunt

Derby scored only 40 goals last season - half as many as Man United

Talented England U21 midfielder Seth Johnson joined Derby ahead of Liverpool in the close season because he wanted guaranteed first team football.

Johnson and 2m Argentine signing Esteban Fuertes are likely to get it sooner rather than later as Derby look for the goals that eluded them last season.

Italian passport-holder Fuertes, 26, was the second top scorer in the Argentinian league last year.

Derby ended the first month of last season second from top of the Premiership but they slipped quickly as the goals dried up.

Goal drought

Last year Dean Sturridge, now transfer-listed, and fellow striker Paulo Wanchope, sold to West Ham, managed only 14 Premiership goals between them.

This season Jim Smith will need his midfielders to share the goal burden.

Johnson, bought from Crewe Alexandria for a record fee which could rise to 3m, has made a promising start to his Pride Park career lashing in a 20-yard goal in a warm-up game against West Bromwich Albion.

An all-rounder who can play in midfield or as a wing-back, Johnson has been described as the "new Bryan Robson".

Top tip

England star Michael Owen named Johnson in his 1999/2000 dream team.

Smith fancies Liverpool defender Phil Babb to replace the transfer-listed Igor Stimac, but only once the Croatian has been sold. A place in Europe, which was at one stage looking likely last season, will be the the Rams' main aim.

Last season: Eighth

In: Seth Johnson ( Crewe, 2.5m), Andy Oakes (Hull, 460,000) Esteban Fuertes (Colon de Sante Fe, 2m)

Out: Paulo Wanchope, Brian Launders, James Wall

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