Derby County are looking to put last season's playoff final heartbreak behind them with another push for promotion this time around, and have made a solid if unspectacular start to the new campaign with 13 points from the first eight games. Saturday's 2-2 draw with Cardiff City saw the Rams recover from two goals down to earn a point; a result that leaves Derby in eighth place in the Championship table, just two points off the top six.
In recent months, Derby have set about extending the contracts of many of their star players in order to keep the club stabilised for years to come. The likes of Jake Buxton, Craig Forsyth, Craig Bryson, Will Hughes, Jeff Hendrick, Jamie Ward, Chris Martin and Mason Bennett have all penned contract extensions, and there is more good news on that front for Rams fans today.
Captain Richard Keogh arrived from Coventry City in 2012 after Derby agreed a £1m fee with the Sky Blues for their star centre back, and the 28-year-old has been a key part of the Derby defence ever since. With over 100 appearances for the club so far, Keogh is an integral piece of Steve McClaren's side, and the former England boss revealed his delight at Keogh agreeing to sign a new three-year contract extension.
"The new contract should be signed in the coming days and we are delighted with that," said McClaren. "I thought Richard was excellent again in the Cardiff game. He is valuable to us on and off the field as our leader."
"The team is good at the moment, the future is bright and we have got all of our best players under long-term contracts. That is important to us. To extend all of our top players for three or four years, the club has done a good job."
Keogh's new deal will be a big boost to Derby, who need to pick up a little more momentum after a slightly inconsistent start to the new campaign. McClaren's men have a good enough squad to challenge for promotion, and the added stability of the recent contract extensions gives them a great chance of making it back to the Premier League.