Derby County have been linked with a move for Burnley defender Jason Shackell.

Derby County got their pre-season campaign underway with a rather familiar feeling, going down 2-1 at Grimsby Town, with the starting back five looking increasingly shaky.

In the final third of the previous campaign, the Rams embarked on a truly terrible run of form which saw the team ship 17 goals in 10 matches, dropping from top spot in the Championship to a disappointing eighth.

There were a number of possible factors for their collapse, Steve McClaren’s links to Newcastle United being an obvious one, but the defending toward the end was ultimately inexplicable.

Newly-appointed boss Paul Clement has already decided to shake things up this summer, with Darren Bent, Andres Wiemann, Tom Ince, Chris Baird, Scott Carson and Alex Pearce all arriving.

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However, some could argue that the key signing has yet to occur, that being a real quality central defender, with Burnley’s Jason Shackell the name heavily linked, as per HITC’s very own sources.

The 31-year-old was a Rams player prior to his switch to the Clarets, and a section of Derby supporters still feel the commanding centre-back was Nigel Clough’s best signing – better than forward Chris Martin.

With the team boasting a wealth of attacking quality, Shackell could ultimately prove to be the final piece of the jigsaw in Clement’s promotion bid, and the fans can sense it.

With their first pre-season fixture underway and the East Midlands outfit heading into the interval 2-0 down due to some rather lacklustre defending, the calls for Burnley’s skipper couldn’t have been more evident.

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