New boss Nigel Pearson sets sights on Premier League return with Derby
Nigel Pearson is targeting a return to the Barclays Premier League now he is back in management with Derby.
The former Leicester boss, who was recently interviewed for the managerial post at Aston Villa, has ended his almost year-long absence from football by signing a three-year contract at the iPro Stadium.
The 52-year-old was sacked by Leicester last June despite engineering a remarkable escape from relegation to the Sky Bet Championship, having won two promotions with the Foxes.
As well as interest from Villa, Fulham also attempted to persuade Pearson back into management.
Pearson felt neither job was right for him but Derby drew his interest. Just like his predecessors Steve McClaren, Paul Clement and Darren Wassall, Pearson will try to fulfil the club's remit of ending what is now an eight-year absence from the top flight.
Speaking at his unveiling on Thursday afternoon, Pearson said: "It was important for me to start again at a club where the fit was right for me and where I felt it was right for me to be back in management, where I could bring my skill set to the fore and have the best chance of succeeding.
"The foundations are in place for the Premier League, not just the squad but the infrastructure and facilities. There is the basis of a very good squad here, not to say there won't be tweaks made along the way."
Promotion is the clear target, and Pearson added: " Whenever you take over a club with stature in the Championship, and Derby is certainly that, that has to be the aim.
"I'm not going to talk about time scales but that's clearly what we want to achieve, although it's never easy and there are some big clubs in this league."
McClaren, Clement and Wassall all had the title of head coach but Pearson will be the manager at Derby.
Asked if there was any significance in the wording, president and chief executive Sam Rush said: " I think it's a natural evolution. We're not wedded to one or the other. I think the term 'manager' suits Nigel very well. It's all part of the review process and we feel it fits what we are all looking for.
"The club has evolved, and continues to, a lot over the last three years and I'm sure Nigel will have full control of all football affairs and input into all football matters to do with the club."
Owner Mel Morris confirmed that Harry Redknapp's contract with Derby as a football consultant finished at the end of the season and the 69-year-old has left the club.