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By ESPN Staff

Derby to make contact with main contenders

Derby chairman Adam Pearson was today set to contact the three managers on his shortlist for the vacant manager's position at Pride Park.

Billy Davies parted ways with the Rams yesterday morning after a torrid start to life in the Barclays Premier League, and Pearson has wasted no time in beginning his search to replace the Scot - who joined the club only 18 months ago from Preston.

Pearson has assembled a three-strong short-list of potential candidates - with former Rams coach Steve McClaren, who was sacked as England manager last week, and MK Dons boss Paul Ince two names reportedly in the frame.

While not revealing any names, Pearson was keen to stress the three men all carry the attributes he believes can steer Derby away from relegation back to the Coca-Cola Championship and establish the club as a force in the Premier League.

'There are three serious candidates, and that's about as far as I'll go,' he told Sky Sports News.

'We've got a short-list and we'll be working through the short-list.

'If the candidate is in work then we'll be contacting their club - and if they are out of work then we'll be contacting their agent.

'It's a very tight list of people who we think can put the pride back into the team and the club. We'll be making the decision very promptly.

'We're talking about names that we think are exciting and will take the club forward and put it back on the front foot.'

Pearson also revealed that if the new manager can inspire a revival in his club's fortunes between now and Christmas then he will be given money to strengthen in the January transfer window.

'If we get investment it could go either way, whether we will we spend it all in the January transfer window,' he added.

'It depends how the team react between now and Christmas. If we are on a good run in with a chance of surviving then we will spend - but if we are having a hard time we will be more conservative.

'Investment is moving forward, but we are not going to achieve it in the time I've been here. It's not a three or four-week period; it's more like a six-month period.

'But it doesn't mean we don't have money to spend, when the club sees it fit and the right players will be available.

'We've got to spend big, and when the time is right Derby will.

'It's a big football club, and we'll be spending money properly and sensibly.'

Meanwhile, four men have appeared in court in connection with alleged financial irregularities at Derby.

Former chief executive Jeremy Keith, ex-finance director Andrew Mackenzie, former director of football Murdo Mackay and businessman Mark Waters were charged by police investigating a takeover of the Pride Park club in 2003.

Keith, 43, of Eaton in Oxfordshire, Mackenzie, 54, of Derby, and Mackay, 52, of Dalgety Bay, Dunfermline, are accused of conspiring to defraud and conceal criminal property.

Waters, 47, of Bromley in south London, is charged with false accounting.

The four were granted unconditional bail during a preliminary hearing at Southern Derbyshire Magistrates' Court, in Derby, and told to reappear at the city's Crown Court on February 14.