The England Under-21 midfielder thinks the Rams will find their form again under the new manager.
Derby and England Under-21 star Will Hughes has assured Rams fans that the players at the iPro Stadium are fully committed and expectant that they will once again challenge for promotion next season, in an interview on Talksport.
Under current Newcastle boss boss Steve McClaren, Derby were top of the Championship in February, only to suffer a drastic loss of form that saw them fall all the way out of the playoffs by the end of the season.
“We one hundred percent have the players to challenge again," Hughes told Talksport. "You look at a couple of years ago and everyone thought we wouldn't come back strong the next season but the majority of the season we did.
"We'll look to correct that this year. The boys are eager to go again and we definitely have the squad and the characters to put together a promotion challenge this season.”
The 20-year-old also revealed that he was looking forward to working with former Real Madrid assistant Paul Clement, who has taken over from McClaren, though he did admit he hadn't spoken to the 43-year-old yet.
“You look at Paul’s CV and he’s done everything in the game,” Hughes added. “Hopefully he can translate that to Derby and there will be some successful times ahead.”
What does Clement need to do at Derby?
Put simply, he will need to reassert the players' belief that they are one of the best teams in the league.
Derby have, for large spells of the last two season, played arguably the best football in the Championship, and not just that, they looked to be set for promotion as a result of that football style.
But they were unable to beat QPR in the final in 2014, and hit a terrible spell of form at the end of last season, so for Clement, so used to dealing with outstanding players with large egos at Real and Chelsea, the trick will be convincing the likes of Hughes that they already possess what it takes to get into a position of authority in the division and remain there.
Of course, that will rely on how well Clement takes to his first job as a manager, having spent much of his career assisting rather than leading.