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 Wednesday, 27 November, 2002, 17:28 GMT
Rams release two more
Derby's Brian O'Neill tangles with Man Utd's Nicky Butt
O'Neill (right) is a victim of Derby's cuts
Derby County stepped up their fight for financial stability by releasing Brian O'Neill and Fiachra McArdle.

The Rams had confirmed this morning that a number of their first-team squad would be leaving the Division One club in the coming months.

Former Scotland international O'Neil and Scottish compatriot Craig Burley were rumoured to be top of the list of players in line to be paid off.

Derby had previously denied any decision was imminent, but O'Neil has now been told he can leave the club.

The 30-year-old was signed from German club Wolfsburg two years ago as part of an exchange deal involving defender Stefan Schnoor.

Derby midfielder Craig Burley
Craig Burley's future at Derby remains uncertain

Injuries have prevented O`Neil from making a serious impact at Pride Park, where he made just 11 appearances last season and four during the current campaign.

With Derby's substantial wage bill in need of a major reduction Gregory decided O'Neill was surplus to requirements.

A club spokesman confirmed: "Brian O'Neil's contract has been cancelled by mutual consent today. Both his and Fiachra's deals were two of a number which the club have been looking at in recent months."

Nothing has been confirmed about Craig Burley's position

Derby spokesman

Derby have already agreed settlements with defenders Horacio Carbonari and Bjorn Otto Bragstad which will see both players follow O'Neil and McArdle out of the club at the turn of the year.

However, County insisted that Burley's future had not been decided despite reports claiming the midfielder was expecting to be shown the door.

Burley returned to action this week after 12 months on the sidelines following a serious knee injury.

The former Scotland international may yet be forced to find another club, but the spokesman added: "Nothing has been confirmed about Craig's position."

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26 Nov 02 | Derby County
25 Nov 02 | Derby County
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