Derby County breakthrough in EFL player registration feud – but on one condition

The besieged Derby County will be able to bolster their squad ahead of the start of the new season – but with that comes a caveat.

Boss Wayne Rooney has been unable to sign so far this summer.

The club were operating under a transfer embargo and Rooney found himself with a reduced squad.

The club faced a handful of trialists, many of whom took part in the Rams’ preseason game with Manchester United on Sunday.

But to be eligible once the new season begins, Derby must tie players to fixed contracts. Under an EFL rule, embargoed clubs are only allowed to have a squad of 23 “professional level” players.

Phil Jagielka is one of the players on trial at Derby

However, the definition of professional status is a single first-team appearance in a competitive match outside of the EFL Trophy.

Confusion with the Derby case surrounds an FA Cup draw last season when the club fielded a squad made up entirely of young players. This was due to a Covid outbreak among the senior team.

Derby argued that there were unique circumstances surrounding this aforementioned match against Chorley.

The BBC now claims the EFL is ready to accept that is the case and allow Rooney to complete his squad.

But the report says strict salary limits will be in place, which could hamper their efforts to strengthen the list.

Six players without a contract took part in the friendly against United, including former skipper Curtis Davies and trialists such as Ravel Morrison and Phil Jagielka.

Under the embargo provisions, free agents can only get a 12-month contract, while loan signatures are limited to six months.

The Derby has just a handful of senior players heading into their opener, at home against Huddersfield on August 7.

After the game against United, Rooney shared his concern that he had not yet been able to sign – and his desire to end the drama off the pitch.

“It’s a challenge,” Rooney said.

Rooney is ready for his first full season as manager

“It’s not ideal and it’s something I’m constantly aware of and constantly trying to get answers.

“Right now I’m still not getting what I want so I just have to focus on the players. I’m not 100% sure of the ins and outs (takeover) so I just need to focus about Football.

“Something has to happen. He has to do it.”

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