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Wednesday, 30 January, 2002, 13:33 GMT
Gregory named Derby boss
Gregory prepares for work at Pride Park
Gregory saw Derby lose to Charlton on Tuesday
E-mail your reaction to Gregory's appointment

Derby County have named former Aston Villa boss John Gregory as their new manager.

The 47-year-old has started a three-and-a-half year contract with the Rams and his first goal is to keep them in the Premier League.

Gregory, who enjoyed a spell at the club as a player, expects this to prove a "very tall order" for a team six points adrift of safety.

But he is confident that Derby can get the results they need to keep them in the top flight.

"It's a very tall order but I think I can influence the players on the field and get the required number of points to stay up
John Gregory

"I am very encouraged by the challenge that lies ahead," he said on his appointment as Derby boss on Wednesday.

"I think I can influence the players on the field and get the required number of points to stay up.

"It's a very tall order I know, but one that I'm looking forward to."

Gregory spoke highly of the Derby board, who convinced him to take up management only a week after leaving Villa Park.

"The club's ambitions match mine for short-term, as well as long-term success.

"Hopefully within the next 12 months, we'll have an academy and a training camp that will be the envy of many clubs in the Midlands."

Doug Ellis, Aston Villa chairman
Gregory had his run-ins with Ellis

And Gregory indicated that the strong and loyal support at Pride Park helped him to make the decision to return.

"One thing the club have got at the moment is that the fans have not deserted the team - that means an enormous amount."

It is not yet clear what transfer funds will be made available to the new manager.

But Gregory, who fell out with Villa chairman Doug Ellis over money, admitted that cash would be in limited supply.

"Every manager has to wheel-and-deal and we're not in a position to be reckless. We have to be careful.

Gregory becomes Derby's third manager of the season, following Jim Smith and Colin Todd.

I won't have a bad word to say about Villa and I won't hear a bad word said either
John Gregory

He enjoyed spells in charge of Portsmouth and Wycombe before taking over at Villa Park in 1998, but may be forced to start his Derby career watching from the stands.

Gregory will answer a Football Association misconduct charge next Tuesday which, if upheld, will in all probability lead to him receiving a second touchline ban in two years.

Despite his sudden departure from Villa Park, Gregory insisted that there was no bad feeling between him and Ellis.

"I left Aston Villa on very good terms with the board of directors and the chairman and spent four happy years at the club.

Crucial game

"I won't have a bad word to say about Villa and I won't hear a bad word said either."

Gregory, who said he hoped to build the same kind of close relationship with the Derby players that he enjoyed at Villa Park, was keen to join the squad at training on Wednesday afternoon.

They face a crucial home game against Saturday and need to start picking up points quickly.

"We have to win games and we don't have much time. We have 14 games to save our Premiership life," said Gregory.

BBC Sport's Ian Brown
"Derby can at best be described as workman like"
New Derby boss John Gregory
"We've got to hang onto Premier League status"
John Gregory

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See also:

29 Jan 02 |  Derby County
Derby talk to Gregory
29 Jan 02 |  Eng Prem
Gregory sees Derby crash
30 Jan 02 |  Aston Villa
Angel 'to leave Villa'
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