Date: 14th July 2010 at 3:17pm
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Stephen Bywater has praised the spirit in the Derby County squad as the new season approaches with the first pre-season friendly against Burton Albion only days away. Nigel Clough has made further changes to his squad after releasing a number of players who were out of contract in the summer and also adding five new faces so far and Bywater believes it is a tighter knit group of players due to this. He told the Derby Evening Telegraph that this is the best spirit amongst a Derby squad since the promotion season in 2006/7:

‘Last summer, there were a number of players at the club the gaffer didn’t want and he also wanted to bring in a number of new players. This summer, players have already arrived and we are all together. We all want to do well. I think a lot of attitudes have changed because the players now know what the gaffer wants and the hard work he demands.”

Bywater started 47 of Derby`s 51 matches last season, a back problem kept him out of the side for two games in March and he also missed the final two games of the season with a rib injury. Despite currently undergoing another tough pre-season programme the keeper is raring to go and believes the injuries are now behind him adding:

‘I tore the muscle away from the bottom rib but I had a good rest in the summer and I feel fine now. I had a good eight weeks off doing nothing and then in the last two weeks before we returned for pre-season, I did some yoga, some stretches and running to get myself prepared for a tough pre-season.

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