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Wednesday, January 2, 2008
Rams set to back Jewell with cash

Derby chairman Adam Pearson is ready to swell the Premier League's foreign legion as he tries to transform the club into a major force.

The Rams supremo believes the club have paid the price for investing almost exclusively in British players going into what has become a nightmare first season back in the top flight.

Moves to rectify that situation began in earnest yesterday as manager Paul Jewell revealed Argentinian striker Emanuel Villa, 25, will fly in on Wednesday to clinch a move from Mexico's UAG Tecos - and an unspecified Premier League player is also close to arriving.

With Derby 10 points from safety going into tonight's trip to Bolton, Pearson admitted survival will be 'a tall order'.

But that will not stop him backing manager Jewell financially during this month's transfer window, with the Rams recruitment drive set to have a particularly European flavour.

'Primarily we are looking abroad,' Pearson told BBC Radio 5 Live.

'We are the only Premier League club without a European player in the team, which is quite an incredible situation to find ourselves in.

'We seem to have limited ourselves to the UK market over the last year and maybe we need to broaden our horizons.

'I think that's what Paul and his scouting team are trying to do right now.'

Pearson could be forgiven for tightening the purse-strings after acknowledging that relegation was more than likely.

But he believes buying now will pay off later and he revealed his long-term vision for the club.

'We will be a Premier League force, I've no doubt about that,' he said.

'Everything's in place for that to happen. With the right recruitment in January and June, we can be a major force very quickly.'

He added: 'Paul and I have just arrived there - we have only been there a matter of weeks - and it's a long-term project.

'We know it's going to take time to rebuild the club. We are going to do it properly and we are going to recruit properly.

'The club's in good shape. It's got a fantastic fan base, great facilities, one of the best managers we could have possibly have attracted to the club and we've got potential investment coming into the club in the new year.

'With or without it, this club will come back.'

If Derby are to narrow the 10-point chasm between themselves and safety tonight, Jewell will somehow have to squeeze every last drop of effort and ability from players he damned as 'not good enough' in the wake of Sunday's defeat to Blackburn.

He will not be helped by a lengthy injury list that now includes defenders Dean Leacock and Michael Johnson, who are both doubtful after limping out of Sunday's game.

Matt Oakley and Claude Davis returned to play 90 minutes against Rovers but Stephen Bywater and Stephen Pearson (both shoulder), Andy Griffin and Rob Earnshaw (both calf), Andy Todd (back) and David Jones (groin) remain out of contention. With Steve Howard having moved to Leicester and Robert Earnshaw (calf) rated 50-50, Jewell may only be able to choose between Kenny Miller, Craig Fagan and Jon Macken up front.

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