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Steve McClaren is ‘getting hands-on’ at Derby County as relegation fears mount, according to The Daily Mirror [27 November, page 69].

The newspaper claims McClaren, who this week returned to Derby as an adviser to the board, went into the dressing room during the Rams’ 3-0 defeat at Middlesbrough on Wednesday.

The 59-year-old is alleged to have told the squad, which is without a permanent manager after Phillip Cocu’s sacking, they ‘needed to show more bravery and balls’.

The Story of Diego Maradona

The Story of Diego Maradona

And it is suggested that McClaren could have more involvement when Derby welcome their relegation rivals Wycombe Wanderers to Pride Park on Saturday.

A quartet of Wayne Rooney, Liam Rosenior, Shay Given and Justin Walker have been leading the Rams in the wake of Cocu’s departure.

But Rooney, who had a player-coach role under the Dutchman, will take the lead against Wycombe after withdrawing himself from on-pitch contention.

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McClaren has had two prior spells as Derby manager, leading them into the play-offs in the first of those.

But the former England manager and Dutch Eredivisie winner was unable to match that success second time around.

He is expected to be named technical director once a takeover of the club by Sheikh Khaled bin Zayed Al Nehayan of the Abu Dhabi royal family, is complete.

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