The Rams travel to Sunderland on Saturday (3pm) and it`s new boss Paul Jewell`s opening game in charge of the team, and he`s taken no time in rolling up his sleeves and stamping his authority at Pride Park.
He has added two new faces to his backroom staff, with Stan Ternent and Mark Seagraves joining the Rams this week.
‘Stan was my coach at Bradford and he has great experience, great knowledge – he knows the game inside out,’ said Jewell.
‘Mark is an up and coming coach who was with me at Wigan.
‘We all think along the same lines and I think I have a good mix of youth and experience there.’
The dismissal of Billy Davies on Monday was not a popular decision for some Rams fans but Jewell has praised the work of the Scotsman at the club.
‘Billy Davies did an absolutely magnificent job here,’ said Jewell.
‘He took the club from near the bottom of the Championship to the Premiership. Billy, his staff and the players need to be commended.
‘Sometimes you can almost get promoted too early and teams promoted via the play-offs are always at a disadvantage.
‘I know this for a fact because the year Wigan was promoted, we had a big start on Watford because they did not know until a month later which division they would be in. That is a vital period of time.
‘I think Billy and Derby suffered because they could not guarantee players they wanted that the club would be in the Premier League because they still had to play in the play-off final.’
Looking ahead too Saturday’s trip to Sunderland – his first game in charge since being appointed on Wednesday. Jewell will look to his players for a big effort in a real six pointer at the Stadium of Lights and his philosophy of hard work and self-belief is something he will be attempting to instil in his new players.
‘Football is a psychological battle and what we have got to do is eradicate fear,’ he said on RamsWorld.
‘We are all human beings and it can be difficult if you are losing every week. The players haven’t done themselves justice but they are good players and I will be trying to get them to believe that.
‘I will be trying to get them out there working to the best of their ability, on the training ground as well as on the field.
‘As a manager, if people give you everything they have got then you can never ask more than that.
‘That’s what I’m saying to the players – give me what you’ve got, don’t come off that pitch with something left in the tank, the players have got to be up for the battle.
‘When you are bottom of the league confidence is at an all-time low but hopefully we can help turn that around. It will be difficult at Sunderland but it is a game we feel we can win, just like they feel they can win,” commented Jewell.
He added: ‘Down at the bottom of the Premier League a lot of teams are fighting for their lives. We are at a disadvantage in that because we are bottom, we have fewer points, less goals and have conceded more, so it is clear we have got to do better in all areas.
‘But it is OK talking. What happens on Saturday counts so hopefully the players can take our instructions and we can give them the confidence to go on and get that result.’
Not that Jewell is overawed by the situation he finds himself in, the Scouser kept unfancied Bradford City and Wigan Athletic in the Premier League against all the odds as he made his name as a boss.
It`s been a long week for Chairman Adam Pearson, but he believes there is no better person to take Derby County forward than new manager Paul Jewell and is delighted to have him on board at Pride Park.
“Paul is a stand-out candidate as regards managerial experience in both the Premier League and the Championship,” said Pearson.
“But it is the Premier League where we are now and I cannot think of a better man to lead us into battle at Sunderland this week.
“I cannot think of a better man to take us forward, it is quite a coup for the club and his appointment gives the club a real lift.
“I want to put a positive slant back on the club, I want to be back on the front foot and this guy will definitely do that for us.
“His characteristics, personality, reputation and experience are exactly what I was looking for and I`m delighted we have got our man.
“It all happened very quickly, we first spoke Tuesday morning, talks went through the afternoon and into the evening.
“Paul has signed a long-term deal and hopefully he and I can be together for a long time and take the club forward from a very firm base,” commented Pearson.