Derby County have entered a newly-formed Under-21 League this season, under the new Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP) which has been subject of introduction throughout the Premier League and Football League this summer. The EPPP aim to higher academy levels to help support clubs in producing home grown talent. The Rams’ new under-21 Team will compete in the Under 21 Professional Development League 2 North and Derby’s Under-18 academy side will play in the Under 18 Professional Development League 2 North. In the under 21 league clubs will be able to field a maximum of three overage outfield players and one overage goalkeeper. The club’s reserve side have won their league in two out of the past three seasons but Derby’s reserve side have now withdrawn their participation in the reserve league to concentrate matters in the new under 21 league. “We’ve had a great few years in the Reserve League, winning it twice, but our resources cannot stretch to fielding a First Team, Reserve Team, Under 21 Team and an Under 18 team at this moment – especially with games falling so close to each other.” Nigel Clough said on the club’s official website. Derby’s home matches will be played at the club’s training facility Moor Farm but two selected home games (Coventry and Leicester) will take place at Pride Park. The league’s format means that the league will have semi finals and a final.
Teams in Derby’s under 21 league (no particular order):
Kick-Offs 1pm unless stated and fixtures times and dates are subject to change.
Wed 22 Aug: Leeds United (a), Mon 27 Aug: Leicester City (h) (Pride Park), Sat 1 Sept: Sheffield Wednesday (a), Wed 19 Sept: Huddersfield Town (h), Mon 24 Sept: Nottingham Forest (a), Mon 1 Oct: Crewe Alexandra (h), Mon 8 Oct: Birmingham City (a), Mon 22 Oct: Sheffield United (a), Mon 29 Oct: Wigan Athletic (h), Wed 7 Nov: Leeds United (h), Sat 17 Nov: Barnsley (a), Mon 3 Dec: Sheffield Wednesday (h), Mon 14 Jan: Coventry City (a), Mon 21 Jan: Nottingham Forest (h), Sat 26 Jan: Huddersfield Town (a), Mon 11 Feb: Crewe Alexandra (a), Mon 25 Feb: Birmingham City (h), Wed 6 Mar: Sheffield United (h), Mon 11 Mar: Wigan Athletic (a) 2pm, Mon 18 Mar: Barnsley (h), Sat 30 Mar: Leicester City (a), Mon 8 Apr: Coventry City (h) (Pride Park), Sat 4 May: Semi Final, Sat 11 May: Final
Here’s Derby’s first team players that qualify to play in the league as an under 21 (three over aged outfield players and one over aged goalkeeper is allowed):
Youth team players are likely to be involved, some of the players listed may not play in this league (ie- Hendrick, Jacobs, regular first teamers) I’m just listing the under 21 players at the club.
In other Rams news today:
Jamie Ward has been called in to the Northern Ireland squad for a friendly against Finland, meaning he will miss the club’s competitive season opener in the League Cup against Scunthorpe. Jeff Hendrick will also miss that game due to a call up to the Republic of Ireland under-21 squad.
Rumours that Derby are interested in Alex Nimely on loan from Manchester City along with Chris Wood from West Brom.
DCFC have announcee that they are working with Cedar House Investments, who have extensive experience on Pride Park, in order to take the planned development at The Plaza @ Pride Park to the next stage. Visit www.theplazaatpridepark.com for information on the club’s plans on the plaza.
Former Derby winger Tomasz Cywka has found a new club, Barnsley. He was released by Reading this summer, the Polish winger made a free transfer to Reading from Derby in January 2012.