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Derby confirm Clough appointment as boss

Nigel Clough is relishing a ''tremendous challenge'' after agreeing a three-and-a-half-year deal to become the new manager of Derby County, the club where his late father Brian enjoyed great success in an illustrious managerial career.

Brian Clough took the Rams from the old Second Division to become champions of England and European Cup semi-finalists during his spell in charge between 1967 and 1973.

Nigel Clough, who had been heavily tipped to succeed Paul Jewell who resigned last week, makes the step into league management for the first time following a decade in charge of non-league Burton Albion.

After taking charge initially as player-manager in October 1998 with Burton in the Southern League, Clough leaves the Brewers on course to get promoted to the Football League for the first time in their history; Burton lead the way in the Blue Square Premier League with a 13-point cushion between themselves and nearest rivals Histon.

''This is a fantastic opportunity for me and one that I relish,'' 42-year-old Clough told Derby's official website. ''I know the club inside out. It has always had a special place in mine and my family's heart, and I know that this is one of the most exciting jobs in football.

''Derby County has everything - tremendous support, a first-class stadium, magnificent trailing facilities and an ambitious ownership group looking to grow the club even further.

''Also, we have a terrific squad of players already here and I can't wait to start working with them. This is going to be a tremendous challenge.''

Brian Clough was football's most celebrated maverick manager. He joined Derby in 1967 from Hartlepool and, a year later, the Rams were promoted to the old First Division.

They won the title in 1972 and reached the semi-finals of the European Cup the following year, beaten by Juventus amid uproar over allegations of match-fixing.

In spite of Clough's departure from the club after a row with the board - and subsequent success with fierce rivals Nottingham Forest - he remained a hero to Derby fans. When he died in 2004, aged 69, the memorial service had to be held at Pride Park to accommodate 14,000 mourners.

By contrast Nigel Clough's approach will be much more low-key. He has resisted offers from league clubs in the past, happy to serve his apprenticeship out of the spotlight, but the lure of Derby - and the chance to write another chapter in the Clough family's footballing history - proved too great to resist.

Jewell left Pride Park last month after a miserable spell with the Rams, which included their relegation from the Premier League with a record low points tally. Jewell's assistant Chris Hutchings had been in temporary charge since Jewell's departure, but he has now left the club following Clough's appointment.

Academy manager David Lowe will take charge of the team for Wednesday night's Carling Cup semi-final first leg clash with Manchester United.

Derby chairman Adam Pearson believes Clough is the right man to lead the club to a brighter future.

He added: ''Nigel is the ideal choice at this time. It is going to be a great challenge for him and all of us at Derby County but one that we are all looking forward to. His track record at Burton is top-drawer and he has improved their standing every season he has been at the club, along with being an excellent man manager.

''It is that kind of progress we are looking for now - someone to grow with the club and lead us in the long term towards success. We have a great squad of players here and Nigel is capable of getting the very best out of them and playing a style of football the supporters want to see.

''Also, he understands this football club and what it means to the people of Derby better than anyone else in the game.''

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