Sam Rush says Derby County’s top 10 finish in the 2012-13 npower Championship has provided a strong platform to build on.
The Rams achieved their highest-ever finish under manager Nigel Clough after recording a 1-0 win against Millwall on the final day of the season just under a fortnight ago, thanks to Conor Sammon’s late goal at Pride Park Stadium.
Chief Executive Rush, who joined Derby in January, has quickly turned his attentions to the 2013-14 campaign and he sees no reason why the Rams can’t record an even better season on the pitch next year.
He accepts that a positive summer of activity in the transfer market will help their cause and Derby have hit the ground running by landing Lee Grant from Burnley and Chris Martin from Norwich City already, and Rush says more faces will follow.
He told Rams Player: “We should be very pleased with how we did over the course of the season.
“To finish tenth is a great platform for us to kick on next year.
“The table shows we were the tenth best team in the league and I think that doesn’t flatter us at all; it was the very least we deserved.
“In no way are we just happy to finish where we did, we have aspirations to be even better next season and I see no reason at all why we can’t be.
“We’ve already started the process of bringing new players in and there’s more to come over the next few months as well.
“By the time we kick off the 2013-14 season in August we will really have a team that we can get behind.
“Some of the performances and football this season were very good indeed and I must say there’s an air of positivity around the Club at the moment that next season could be a very exciting one.
“A lot of that is down to the excellent work Nigel Clough and his staff have done and we’re very lucky to have him leading us, and we believe he can take us to where we want to be.”
Derby’s strong finish to the season, recording five wins out of nine, provided a strong feel-good factor to take into the summer months.
Rush is convinced there’s plenty to be upbeat about at Pride Park and he is aiming to help Clough assemble a squad to generate the belief that the Rams can mount a top six challenge next season.
“Everyone here wants hope, expectation and excitement surrounding the place and it appears we’ve got it in abundance,” he said.
“Now I am really looking forward to building that over the summer and working hard to bring the players in that Nigel Clough has identified and getting a squad together that everyone believes in.
“You need players that people believe in and if we can manage that, it’ll be exciting for everyone.
“I can’t wait for next season and I was thrilled to hear the manager saying exactly the same thing last week, because we have a lot to be upbeat about.”
Rush has made no secret of the fact that Derby’s main aim is to become a top flight club once again and he is adamant that dream is not too far away from becoming a reality.
“Our target is clear; we want to be successful and get out of this division and be a Premier League,” he explained.
“That is our sole focus and what we’re all striving to achieve, and in order to do that we need to build a team capable of competing at the top end of this league.
“We feel a large part of the squad is already in place to do that, but now it’s a case of fine-tuning to add those extra bits of quality.
“The biggest thing for me is that everyone is genuinely looking forward to next season and that’s the message I am feeling as I walk around Derby and go into the local community.
“There’s no question that Derby County is in fantastic shape and I don’t see any reason why we can’t be in the top six come next May.
“I am already counting down the days until the fixtures come out!”
After four and a half months to settle into life at Pride Park, Rush says his determination to help Derby fulfil their potential has grown considerably.
He has already built a rapport with Rams supporters and he is keen to see that relationship grow in the future.
He said: “I’ve had a great time over the last four or so months and it’s confirmed to me just what a great club Derby County is.
“We have great people on both the football and corporate side and everyone knows Derby County is a club with huge potential.
“Hopefully, in time, I will be talking less about huge potential and more about huge achievements – and I think we’re getting there.
“My enthusiasm is stronger now than it was from the first time I walked through the door, and I suspect my pre-season it’ll be even greater!
“I’ve really enjoyed interacting with our fans, especially during the Marston’s pub visits and the overall experience of talking to the supporters.
“I recognise how important Derby County is to them and I take the responsibility that falls on my shoulders very seriously.”
Watch Sam Rush’s full interview ONLY on Rams Player.