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Last Updated: Monday, 1 August 2005, 10:08 GMT 11:08 UK
Raring to go
By Paul Fletcher

Derby manager Phil Brown
Derby boss Phil Brown cannot wait for his first full season in management to begin after a hectic pre-season since his appointment on 24 June.

"It has been a difficult pre-season," Brown told BBC Sport. "But the season does tend to take care of itself and gather momentum.

"And when the transfer window closes at the end of August that will allow me to concentrate on the squad of players.

"It will mean more time on the training pitch and less on the phone."

Brown took over following George Burley's resignation and subsequent appointment as Hearts manager.

Burley took a chunk of his backroom staff with him - leaving Brown with a major rebuilding job behind the scenes as well as preparing his squad for a new season.

And all this at a club with debts in the region of 40m.

"It has been difficult," admitted Brown, who moved to Derby after six years as Sam Allardyce's assistant at Bolton.

"It was a welcome surprise to get the opportunity to manage Derby County but the downside was the timing.

"To come into a job two or three staff down was the difficult part. We were also players down so there has been a lot of work going on behind the scenes.

"I have been slowly but surely piecing it together and hopefully all backroom staff will be in place by 6 August."

Brown learnt a lot under Allardyce as he elevated Bolton from one of football's yo-yo clubs to a side gearing up for their first European campaign.

Shrewd loan signings - bringing experienced peformers to the club - as well as a willingness to embrace new methods and techniques have paid handsome dividends at the Reebok Stadium.

And while Brown is keen to stamp his own authority on the job he is also hopeful of taking on board what has been so successful at Bolton.

"That is one of main reasons why I got the job," he said.

"I said during the interview process that the only way we can move forward is the use of season-long loans - getting players out of the Premier League that will hopefully improve us.

"All teams play the type of football that personifies the character of their manager.

"Sam was an uncompromising centre-half who took no prisoners and hopefully I'll be in the same vein."

Brown has already brought in promising central defender Andrew Davies on a season-long loan from Middlesbrough and Marc Edworthy from Norwich - and is hopeful of more signings before the transfer window shuts.

He is also keen to make the most of the youth system at the club.

Giles Barnes, just 16, has impressed through pre-season, while Lee Holmes, 18, played for England in the final of the European Under-19 Championship against France recently in Northern Ireland.

Lee Holmes in action for Derby
I worked with Lee before he joined the England Under-19 team and he was impressive
Brown on Holmes

"I think the academy is one of the better run departments in the club," said Brown.

"They have a knack of recruiting local talent - the 10 new boys taken in this year are all from Derbyshire, which is fantastic.

"I have five or six in my squad that have come through the academy, several of them playing international football at various levels."

Brown has been arriving at work at 7am and often not leaving until after 9pm since he took over.

He believes that Derby are a Premiership club in all but status and is working tremendously hard to address the situation.

"I am inexperienced where Derby is concerned but I am working tirelessly behind the scenes to make sure that is put right.

"It is my personal ambition to take Derby back to the Premiership.

"But it will be very competitive this season - there are 10 teams that you can rattle off no problem that have a chance of winning the title or promotion.

"If I can get Derby out of the Championship and into the Premiership it will be a great achievement for everybody."

The Rams season opens on Saturday with a home match against Brighton.

And no one will be happier than Brown that the real business has finally begun.


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