With the 2016/17 season done and dusted, Gary Rowett can’t wait to tackle the prospect of shaping his Derby County squad for next season head on.

Rowett took charge of Derby in March and oversaw nine matches in the closing weeks of the campaign.

He achieved four wins and three draws from those games as the Rams claimed a ninth-place finish.

Now, after time to assess, Rowett is relishing the prospect of getting down to work during the coming months to build and assessable his squad for the 2017/18 campaign.

The 43-year-old admits he knows where he wants to strengthen and shuffle his pack ahead of what he describes as a ‘stronger challenge’ next term.

He told RamsTV: “It’s going to be a really busy summer and I can’t wait; I’m really looking forward to it.

“We’ve learnt a lot from the last nine games and how they’ve panned out. We have looked at lots of players in lots of positions and lots of different formations as well.

“Now is about taking that knowledge into the summer in terms of what we need to.

“We know roughly where we want to strengthen, how many we want to bring in and let out – but the market is going to dictate that a little bit as well.

“I think there will be a little bit of a change. We’ve told the players that they have to come back and be ready to be part of what will be a much stronger challenge next season.”

He added: “We might have an opportunity to bring a couple of players in before we let some out and I think if we can start the ball rolling with that then that will be ideal.”

Rowett admits that, as much as he would like to add to his squad as soon as possible, he will have to play a waiting game.

He feels that a more realistic aim is to make sure everything is in place for the start of the new season in August, rather than being obsessed about getting deals done early doors.

“Sometimes you can do business early on but it can take a lot longer to do as well,” he said.

“It’s about doing it ready for the first game of the season rather than doing it in the first two weeks of the off-season, which isn’t that easy to do.

“The thing with quality players is that they won’t dive into the first offer that they get nor will clubs, but I think again, it’s going to be down to what players we can get out of the door.

“Some need to play and some need a fresh challenge. Some players have been here a very long time and we need to freshen the group up and give it a different look.”

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