Derby County have moved to sign highly-rated defender Max Hunt from Matlock Town and bolster the Under-23s’ defensive options.

The towering 18-year-old centre back has signed an 18-month deal, which will see him link up with Darren Wassall’s side, whilst the club hold the option to extend his stay by a further year.

Standing at 6ft 6in, Hunt, a former Nottingham Forest and Mansfield Town Academy prospect, has spent the last 18 months within the Matlock Town Academy and Reserves structure before signing contract for the first team in July 2017.

A loan spell at Belper Town assisted in his development before making his Matlock debut 2nd December- starting with their 2-1 win over Lancaster City.

The defender’s form has also seen him recently have a trial with Premier League outfit West Bromwich Albion, but it is Derby that have stolen a march on their rivals to complete a deal.

Speaking on the move, Hunt told “This is a dream come true and is what I have wanted since I was a young kid. I want to be a professional footballer, but in truth, the hard work just starts now.

“I’m happy to be here. I want to progress as much as possible and I have ambitions to just better myself every day and just work hard. At the same time, this is a great opportunity to work with some top-quality coaches every day.

“I want to be here for a long time. It’s a massive club, the set-up is fantastic, and I loved my time on trial.

“I want to say a big thank you to Matlock too. Justin Tellus and the all the people in the development system have helped me as a young lad and gave me my first taste of men’s football, which was a big moment for me. I can’t thank them enough for everything they have done for me.”

As part of the deal, a Derby County XI will travel to Causeway Lane to face Matlock in a pre-season friendly ahead of the 2018/19 campaign.