McClaren backs Dawkins to become a fans' favourite at the iPro Stadium.

Steve McClaren last week made Simon Dawkins his first permanent signing since becoming the Head Coach of Derby County – and he’s backing the wideman to establish himself as a fans’ favourite for years to come.

The 26-year-old wideman penned a two-and-a-half year deal with Derby after an undisclosed fee was agreed with Tottenham Hotspur for his services late last week.

Dawkins, a product of Tottenham Hotspur’s Academy, impressed during a loan spell at the iPro Stadium and McClaren moved quickly to make him a permanent member of his squad.

He made 13 appearances and scored on three occasions after arriving in mid-October and his performances in McClaren’s attacking armoury have quickly led to him becoming a popular figure with supporters.

McClaren believes Dawkins can continue to grow in popularity with the Derby faithful if he continues to prove his worth after quickly showing his qualities both in front of goal and when creating opportunities for his team-mates.

He told Rams Player: “It’s great news for everyone Simon is staying with us for the long-term.

“6,000 fans, as it was at Barnsley, singing ‘sign him up’ can’t be wrong can they?

“From day one Simon has been a great addition to the team and he has settled in very quickly.

“Now he has signed, we just hope he can continue to produce the level of performance we’ve seen from him.

“The fans have taken to him and if he keeps performing like he has been I think he can become a big crowd favourite.”

McClaren opted to rest Dawkins when Derby took on Wigan Athletic on New Year’s Day in their last Sky Bet Championship fixture, ending a run of 11 successive starts.

However, he believes Dawkins’ impact off the bench against the Latics, despite the Rams’ 1-0 loss, highlighted his importance to the side.

“Simon gets supporters on the edge of their seats and that’s great,” he said.

“Sometimes you only realise the importance of a player when they’re not there and we saw that against Wigan on New Year’s Day.

“When he came on for the last half an hour or so he made a real difference and highlighted the impact he can make on games.”

Watch more from Steve McClaren talking about Simon Dawkins on Rams Player.

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