Short-term deal a chance for midfielder to earn a longer stay with the Rams.

First Team Coach Paul Simpson says Kalifa Cisse’s new short-term deal at Derby County is a reward for his performance against Sheffield Wednesday – and he has challenged the Mali international to continue to prove his worth.

The 29-year-old midfielder signed non-contract forms just hours before Derby’s 3-0 win over Wednesday earlier this month, but he yesterday penned fresh terms for the next two months.

After building up his fitness during a month-long trial with Derby as a free agent, his opportunity to shine came when defensive midfielder John Eustace was forced to serve a one-match suspension against the Owls.

Simpson says Cisse, who has Premier League and Championship experience under his belt, now has the chance to earn a longer deal with the Rams and show he deserves to remain a more permanent member of Steve McClaren’s squad.

He told Rams Player: “Kalifa’s new deal is a reward for what he showed in the Sheffield Wednesday game.

“It has been a strange scenario really with Kalifa because he came in to train with us from the start of October and during that time we were saying ‘is he better than what we’ve got?’.

“The situation then arose where we needed another option in his position for the game against Wednesday.

“When we discussed it over the week Kalifa was the right choice and his performance showed us that as well.

“He was excellent on the day and this is a little reward for him.

“There’s also a carrot being dangled for him saying ‘put yourself in the shop window, whether that’s for here with Derby County or someone else, and show what you are about’.

“Hopefully he will take the opportunity and show he is worthy of a place in our squad and continue to produce the level of performance we saw from him.”

Cisse made 145 competitive appearances in English football with Reading and Bristol City and will battle it out with Eustace for the right to retain his place in the starting XI when Derby travel to AFC Bournemouth on Saturday.

Watch an exclusive interview with Paul Simpson on Rams Player.

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