Derby boss Billy Davies fears his current squad does not have the quality to compete in the Premier League and says he is desperate to buy players.
Davies has concerns about the strength of his Derby squad
Davies revealed to BBC Five Live he has "less than 75%" of his desired staff.
He said: "We need lots of signings to take ourselves up to the level of competition in the Premier League.
"We must add quality and numbers but I don't think we will be ready until the end of August and we are not anywhere near the squad we want to have."
Consolidation in the Premier League is the number one goal
Derby manager Billy Davies
Davies is finding it hard to recruit the players he wants and had a £5m bid for Southampton striker Kenwyne Jones described as "unsolicited and unwelcome" by the Championship club on Tuesday.
Davies added: "We made a substantial offer and they turned that down but negotiations will continue.
"I felt we acted in a very professional manner. Unfortunately, in this game agents and third parties are always on the phone trying to create a move or a problem for someone."
However, Davies remains clear about his aim for the season and has relayed that to his players in no uncertain terms.
"Consolidation in the Premier League is the number one goal," he stated. "And the number I will give to my players is 42 points; that's the figure I will try to ram down their throats.
"We know if we can get through the first season the spending power becomes greater but at the moment we have a level we have to work with and that makes life very difficult."
Life could be made even more difficult for Davies should he lose one of his best players, Giles Barnes - who has attracted interest from other Premier League clubs.
Davies admitted: "He's a young player with great potential. We've had phone calls about one or two of our players."