Buxton is looking forward to pre-season after back surgery and he’s pleased with the form he showed last year, which he’s suggested has been respected by those he trains and plays with, as well as the club’s fans.
He’s also made it clear that he wants to be part of a back four, which guides the club into the Premier League.
“Pre-season is a time to stake a claim for a place in the side and help Derby County push for promotion,” said Buxton.
“I feel I am in a position now where I am respected in the group and by the fans, but that doesn’t mean you get an automatic place in the team.”
“My drive and desire is to be part of a squad that takes Derby County into the Premier League.”
Buxton gives Derby boss Steve McClaren an option in terms of forming a defence for the next campaign, but it will be interesting to see if the boss dips into the transfer market to improve that area of the team.
Fortunately for Buxton, he’s been presented with a relatively level playing field, different from a situation where he may have been coming back with games to play and a more difficult challenge in terms of replacing a teammate.
McClaren will judge who to use in his back four for next year on who is in the best shape physically through pre-season, who trains and performs the best in friendly games and the impact that any new signings have.
The 30-year-old certainly has the experience needed to get stuck in and make a difference for the team, but he’ll have to earn his place.