Matt Oakley backs Nigel Pearson to lead Derby County to promotion

Leicester manager Nigel Pearson

The former Derby County captain worked under the club's new manager at Leicester City before their return to the Premier League.

Leicester manager Nigel Pearson

Former Derby County and Leicester City captain Matt Oakley has told the Derby Telegraph that the Rams' new manager Nigel Pearson can be the boss to finally lead them back into the Premier League.

Derby confirmed the appointment of the ex-Foxes boss earlier this week to replace interim boss Darren Wassall, who led the club to a place in the play-offs before their semi-final exit to Hull City.

Pearson would look to be a solid appointment for County, having led Leicester from League One to the top flight, and then guiding them to a remarkable survival after they looked dead and buried last term.

Leicester manager Nigel Pearson

Oakley was Pearson's captain at the King Power Stadium when they won League One in 2009, and has backed his former boss to be the man to oversee Derby's return to the big time after their relegation in 2008.

The former Derby captain told the Derby Telegraph: "Nigel is very clear on what he wants. His first priority is to make the team as happy as it can be in terms of he won't have any bad eggs in the dressing room. He will get them out straight away.

"The team will be a tight unit, like what you see with the current Leicester team. He built the side that has just won the Premier League, just as he built the team when I was at Leicester. He had very strong thoughts on defence – two banks of four, and he will start from that. He doesn't like conceding goals and he will let you know pretty soon if you are leaking goals.

Leicester City manager Nigel Pearson celebrates at full time

"I am pretty confident Nigel will get promotion with Derby. With [owner and chairman] Mel Morris behind the club, I think it will be an interesting time for Derby."

Though Pearson has a good track record, he will be heading to the iPro Stadium without his long-time assistants Craig Shakespeare and Steve Walsh, who remained at Leicester after Pearson's departure and just helped Claudio Ranieri win a historic league title.

That will prove a challenge for Pearson in his return to management after a year away, but after the underwhelming reign of Paul Clement before Wassall, the East Midlands club needed change as they finally look to secure promotion next term.

Leicester manager Nigel Pearson poses with the Barclays manager of the month award for April

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