Gary Rowett was appointed as Derby County’s new manager on 14th March 2017.
Rowett signed a contract until the end of the 2018/19 season after building up an excellent reputation in recent years following impressive spells in charge of Burton Albion and Birmingham City.
He is no stranger to supporters after making 120 appearances for the club between 1995 and 1998, during which time he contributed to the Rams’ promotion to the top flight in 1995/96.
Rowett’s playing career saw him rack up almost 450 appearances over the course of 16 years.
The defender started out at Cambridge Untied in the early 1990s before moving to Premier League Everton in 1994, prior to linking up with the Rams in the summer of 1995 following a loan spell at Blackpool.
He moved to Birmingham City in 1998 for a fee of £1 million and later moved to Leicester City and Charlton Athletic in 2000 and 2002 respectively – again for seven figure fees.
A persistent knee injury ended his professional career but he did continue playing outside league football at Burton Albion, prior to hanging up his boots for good.
After retiring, Rowett was appointed as assistant manager to former Derby striker Paul Peschisolido at Burton Albion in 2009, before eventually taking over as manager in 2012.
He oversaw the Brewers retaining their League 2 status and went on to secure play-off spots in 2012/13 and 2013/14, with the latter ending with a play-off final defeat to Fleetwood Town at Wembley Stadium.
After a strong start to 2014/15 at the Pirelli Stadium, Rowett stepped up to managing in the Championship by taking charge of Birmingham City.
Deep in relegation trouble at the time, Rowett revived their fortunes and ensured the Blues remained in the second tier. He then guided them to an impressive second successive tenth place in 2015/16, his first and only full season in charge.
He left St Andrew’s on 14th December 2016 with Birmingham seventh in the table and in the running for a play-off spot.
Kevin Summerfield joined Derby County on 14th March 2017 as Gary Rowett’s Assistant Manager.
The first thing to say here is that there were no obvious connections between Summerfield and Rowett prior to when they worked together at Burton Albion.
Appointed as assistant manager in 2012 after he moved from Tranmere Rovers, Rowett wanted someone with experience and, importantly, a man who could get the job done.
He said at the time: "What I think I had to do with this appointment was not go down the route of bringing in someone who was a mate of mine that perhaps couldn't do the job well.
"The crucial thing we needed to add to the team was experience, someone who has experience at this level and at higher levels and has a good idea of what it takes to get promotion.
"He's a good guy to have in the office. He's good fun, he's got a really nice character about him. And he's got the experience and success as an assistant."
Prior to working with Rowett, Summerfield achieved promotion on three occasions – with Plymouth Argyle in 2002, Sheffield Wednesday in 2005 and Swindon Town in 2007.
He came to close to adding a fourth with Rowett as their first spell working together proved to be a fruitful marriage, as they led the Brewers to two play-off finishes, narrowly missing out on promotion to Sky Bet League 1 on both occasions.
He moved with Rowett to Birmingham in October 2014 as his assistant once more and left St Andrew’s alongside him in December 2016.
As a player, Summerfield enjoyed a 19-year career in the game that saw him play for seven clubs – taking him from the West Midlands, to the Welsh Capital and the south-coast.
Beginning at West Bromwich Albion as a trainee, he went on to play for Birmingham City, Walsall, Cardiff City, Plymouth Argyle and Exeter City and Shrewsbury Town as a forward and midfielder – amassing nearly 400 career appearances.
First Team Coach
Mark Sale was appointed as Derby County’s First Team Coach in March 2017.
His association with Rowett goes right back to 1991, when their paths crossed at Cambridge United during the 1991/92 campaign – where they worked under John Beck’s Machiavellian tactics, but it appears that their former boss has had a big influence on their respective coaching careers.
“I was talking about this with Mark Sale. He played under John at Cambridge and Preston. We look back at those times and, as crazy as it was, we’ve both taken a hell of a lot from Becky,” Rowett explained.
“I know what people say about John’s philosophy. And yes, he did like a direct game. But it was largely based on statistics, which is interesting now, isn’t it?
“One thing is certain, though. Anyone who was at Cambridge will look back and respect what he gave us in terms of ethics and standards. John taught us the value of work, of togetherness, of being a team. It got us all a long way.”
Fast forward 18 years and they were reunited in 2009, when Rowett’s coaching career began with Burton Albion in 2009. Sale was the Brewers’ youth team manager at the time.
From there, Rowett made Sale his first team coach after he took up the managerial reins in May 2012 and the pair have worked together closely ever since, holding the same role at Birmingham City.
Described as a typical football journeyman, he was giant forward that represented 16 clubs in a career that stemmed over 17 years.
His most notable success came with Colchester United where he helped the U’s achieve promotion from the Third Division via the play-offs.
Sale was also promoted with Northwich Victoria from Conference North towards the end of his career in 2005/06.
During his playing days, the Burton-born striker was told he had Hodgkin’s Disease, cancer of the lymph nodes, in December 1999 – at the age of 27 – but went on to make a full recovery after undertaking chemotherapy.
First Team Coach
Kevin Phillips joined Derby County's coaching staff in September 2015.
The former England international striker joined Derby from Premier League side Leicester City, where he acted as first team coach.
Phillips, 42, scored 287 goals in 665 professional appearances during his 20-year playing career, which included nine and a half seasons playing Premier League football and featuring eight times for his country.
Phillips’ professional playing career began in 1994, when he joined First Division Watford from Baldock Town before, after three years at Vicarage Road, he joined Sunderland in 1997.
He scored 35 times in 48 appearances in his first season with the Black Cats, followed by 25 in 32 outings as he helped fire Sunderland to the top flight in 1998/99.
Phillips took to the Premiership like a duck to water, scoring an impressive 30 goals in 36 league appearances in the 1999/2000 campaign. As a result, he became the first Englishman to receive the European Golden Shoe, as well as the Premiership Golden Boot and Player of the Season Awards.
Phillips remained a regular on the scoresheet during the next three seasons at the Stadium of Light before moving to Southampton, where he was a trainee in his early years, in 2003.
His next three moves were all to West Midlands clubs, Aston Villa (2005/06), West Bromwich Albion (2006/07 & 2007/08) and Birmingham City (2008/09, 2009/10 & 2010/11) before rounding of his playing days with Blackpool (2011/12 & 2012/13), Crystal Palace (2012/13 & 2013/14) and eventually Leicester City (2013/14) at the age of 40.
In total he scored 250 league goals with FA Cup, League Cup, Play-Off and European matches making up his final total.
During his career, he achieved promotion to the top flight on five occasions, with Sunderland, West Bromwich Albion, Birmingham City, Crystal Palace and Leicester City - as well as lifting the League Cup whilst at Birmingham.
Early in 2015, Phillips received the Tom Finney Award at the annual Football League Awards to mark his achievements in Football League competitions.
Kevin Poole joined Derby County in March 2017 as Goalkeeping Coach on Gary Rowett’s coaching staff to begin his second spell at the club.
His first stint with the Rams began in 2005 under Phil Brown as a goalkeeping coach, although he was also a registered as a player too – at the age of 42 – and went on to play seven times as Derby staved off relegation.
He wasn’t done there and was actually still playing at the age of 50 as he turned out on the substitutes bench for Burton Albion in a League 2 game – his manager at that time? Gary Rowett.
At that time, he said: “Kevin has been joining in with training occasionally and he’s still really sharp.”
“As a League Two club, we don’t have the money to bring somebody in for a month when we need a bit of extra cover now and then.
“He’s been costing us a fortunate in chocolate Hobnobs – that’s what I used to persuade him.
“Pooley probably wasn’t that keen to come back, because at 50 he probably feels he’s not up to it.”
The pair were placed in temporary charge of the Brewers in 2012 and after Derby’s new boss got the permanent job at the Pirelli Stadium, Poole reverted to being his goalkeeping coach – a role he also held when he moved with Rowett to Birmingham City.
Rowett and Poole also played together at St Andrew’s for two years between 1998 and 2000 and the Blues are just one of nine clubs the goalkeeper turned out for over his prolonged career.
Darren Wassall has been in charge of the Academy at Derby County since April 2009.
During his tenure as Academy Director, a number of players have progressed through the ranks into the first-team set-up including Will Hughes, Jeff Hendrick, Jamie Hanson, Mark O’Brien and Mason Bennett.
In the summer of 2014, Wassall successfully oversaw Derby’s bid to achieve Category One status under the Elite Player Performance Plan.
He served as Caretaker Manager for one game in the 2013/14 season and also stepped up to the role of Head Coach in February 2016 until the end of the season, guiding the team to a play-off spot.
Wassall featured over 120 times for the Rams, after being brought to the Club by Arthur Cox.
He joined Derby in the summer of 1992 and soon gained a reputation as a reliable defender.
He was also a member of the side that won promotion to the Premier League under Jim Smith in 1997, before he left the Rams in 1997 to join Birmingham City.
Robin Sadler joined Derby County in December 2016 after working at Premier League side Manchester City for over 16 years.
He progressed from working in Manchester City’s Academy set-up into the first-team environment and held the position of first team physiotherapist for 10 years.
Sadler will report directly to the club’s Head of Medical Services, Nigel Cox.
Sadler holds a BSc Hons in Physiotherapy and a Master of Science degree in Manual Therapy.