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‘No coincidence’: Curtis Davies details one key reason behind Derby County’s promotion under Paul Warne

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Derby County returned to the second tier last weekend, and Curtis Davies has credited Paul Warne for their success.

A 2-0 victory over Carlisle United on Saturday saw Derby return to the Championship after several years of struggle.

The Rams previously won promotion in 2007 and had several near misses in the years that preceded, finally breaking their spell last weekend.

David Clowes deserves huge credit after saving the club from going out of business altogether. He claimed he came to Derby’s aid so he could celebrate moments like this.

His appointment of Paul Warne in September 2022 was a major factor behind their promotion. The former Rotherham United boss arrived with three promotions on his CV.

Although Derby narrowly missed out on the playoffs in his first season, after using the transfer market to bring in the players he wanted, they achieved automatic promotion in his second season.

Paul Warne is managing Derby County during the Sky Bet League 1 match between Derby County and Carlisle United at Pride Park in Derby, England, on ...

Curtis Davies issues Paul Warne verdict

Curtis Davies, who rose to cult hero status during his time at Derby, has been keeping a close eye on his former club, even after suffering relegation to League Two with Cheltenham.

Davies believes the key factor behind Paul Warne’s success in winning promotion is allowing him free rein in the transfer market. Warne, accustomed to working on a shoestring budget at Rotherham, was able to bring in players on free transfers, which suited his style perfectly.

The additions of Joe Ward and Curtis Nelson, in particular, showed that Warne could sign top-end League One players to supplement the quality already in his squad.

In an interview with the EFL All Access podcast, Davies said, “I think at the back end of last season, the manager always said he was trying to build a team under his own identity. And when he had that at Rotherham, he got promoted three times. So, I think it’s no coincidence that after having a window where he was able to get players more suited to him and the way he wants to do things. He had the full preseason to get them fit; it was tough for the lads I know that for a fact.”

“Sprinkling a few in January as well that helped the group; Ebou Adams was fantastic for the cause towards the end of the season. He got the right people, as in, actual personalities and people as players as well. I’m delighted for him as a man and as a person, first and foremost, but I’m obviously delighted for Derby County as a football club.”

Davies also highlighted the pivotal role played by Ebou Adams, who joined on loan from Cardiff City in January. The 28-year-old’s combative, energetic, and tough-tackling performances were instrumental in Derby’s promotion push.

With Adams in the midfield, Derby conceded just seven goals out of their 37 once he joined the squad. His physical presence allowed other midfielders like Conor Hourihane, Max Bird, and Korey Smith to flourish.

While Derby is keen on signing Adams permanently, their £250,000 bid fell well short of Cardiff’s £500,000 valuation. However, signing Adams could be the catalyst for a successful summer of spending for the club.

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