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Derby keep up promotion challenge

John Eustace scored a rare goal. Credit: PA

Twenty-four years to the day since Derby last beat QPR at home they repeated the feat to keep their Sky Bet Championship promotion challenge firmly on track.

John Eustace scored the only goal of the game, more than four-and-a-half years after his last for the Rams, as the division's most potent attack came out on top against the tightest defence at the iPro Stadium.

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Higginbotham retires a week after joining Altrincham

Former Derby and Stoke defender Danny Higginbotham has announced his retirement with immediate effect only a week after joining Skrill North side Altrincham.

I realise this will come completely out of the blue to a lot of people, but, believe me, it is not a decision that has been taken lightly. It is a massive step to hang up your boots and accept you are finished, but it's one I could not avoid.

Looking back, I should probably have quit when I left Chester, but I couldn't pass up the chance of joining Alty. I always said I would play for the club I have always supported and I genuinely hoped it would prove the catalyst for firing me up again and getting me back to how I used to be.

– Former Stoke defender Danny Higginbotham.

Higginbotham started his career at Manchester United where he made seven appearances, before a loan spell at Royal Antwerp preceded spells with Derby, Southampton, Stoke and Sunderland.

Mourinho: McClaren can make Derby a stable Premier League side

Former England boss McClaren is capable of re-establishing Derby in the Premier League, according to Jose Mourinho, who is sending a first-choice Chelsea team to the newly-named iPro Stadium to tackle the Rams in their FA Cup Third Round tie.

He knows the football that can take him not just to the Premier League, but also to play with a certain stability if, or when, they reach the Premier League.

A team that will play the best they can, without any kind of pressure.

Do we lose? Do we win? Who knows? At least the message is we respect them and we go there with the best possible team.

The next game after Derby is Hull at the weekend. We can play against Derby and have a day off on Monday.

– Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho.

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Derby tie-up permanent deal for Dawkins

Dawkins has impressed on loan at Derby. Credit: PA

Derby have signed Tottenham midfielder Simon Dawkins on a permanent deal following a successful loan spell at the Championship club.

Dawkins joins Steve McClaren's men for an undisclosed fee, believed to be worth in the region of £500,000, on a two-and-a-half year contract.

The 26-year-old attacking midfielder joined the Rams from Spurs on a three-month deal in October and has scored three goals in his 13 appearances.

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Family affair

Family pride as well as three points will be at stake when Wigan meet Derby in the Championship on Sunday.

Twins Will and Michael Keane left Manchester United on loan this week, with Will heading to Wigan and Michael to Derby, and by a quirk of fate their debuts could well be against each other.

It's a bit of a family affair this weekend. I can't believe I'll be up against my brother, Will, if I play on Sunday.

I had been hearing rumours about Derby's interest for a while. In the end, the move happened last minute and I am just happy it went through.

Hopefully I can improve the squad and help Derby this season. This is a massive club and it is a great opportunity for me.

– Derby defender Michael Keane
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