Defender James Chester believes the opportunity to achieve something special and be part of the journey with Derby County was too good a chance to turn down.

The 33-year-old signed a one-year contract with the Rams after his time at Stoke City came to an end following the conclusion of the 2021/22 campaign.

Chester has played the majority of his football in both the Premier League and Championship and is another experienced head to add to the ranks at Pride Park Stadium, having amassed over 400 appearances in his career.

The defender sat down with RamsTV to discuss his reasons for joining Derby and why he had a keen interest in the club last season.

On How He Heard Of Derby’s Interest…

It probably took a week or so to get to this point, but it was something that I was really interested in. I’ve known Liam Rosenior for a long time so I know the type of personality he is as well as hearing about the facilities the club has. It’s a stadium I’ve played at before ,so it was something I was really excited for and I’m glad it’s been finalised.

The club being in League One wasn’t really something that crossed my mind. I still believe I can play higher but the pull of everything I mentioned and playing at such a nice stadium every other week far outweighed anything else.

On The Challenge Of Joining Derby…

The opportunities in your careers to achieve something aren’t there very often so to have some responsibility to get this club back to the Championship where they deserve to be at the very minimum is another huge reason.

It’s an exciting time with the huge rebuild happening with the football club. The squad last year formed a real bond with the fanbase and I think it’s important for us as a new squad to maintain that and hopefully give them something to look forward to.

On Playing In League One Before…

I do remember the season I had in League One very well with Carlisle United. It was a really good time in my career. I was a right-back at the very start and it was one of my first tastes of proper first team football. It was something that I thoroughly enjoyed. The dressing room and the way the staff work lower down is nice and refreshing and when I was a young lad I really enjoyed my time at Carlisle.

On People He Knows Associated With The Club…

Phil Jagielka, who I played with last season at Stoke City, really enjoyed his time at Derby and that was one of the reasons why I kept a close interest on what was happening. Jags sat next to me in the dressing room and he was still fully involved in what was happening here. He spoke only good words from his time at the club and I’m a little bit upset I only got to spend four or five months with him because he was such a good person and really infectious to be around.

I know Curtis Davies well from my time at Hull and he’s someone I have kept in touch with since leaving. The others that I know are through just playing against them and they seem to be the right kind of people and character when I’ve come up against them. The signing of Conor Hourihane as well, he’s someone I know really well. I was at his wedding less than two weeks ago and I’m excited to be reuniting with him also.

On What Fans Can Expect…

I’m someone who maintains a level-head and a level of performance throughout the season. I have never been someone who drops and steals the highlights as such but I like to think I’m consistent in my work and my performances and the older I’ve got, hopefully I can pass on some experience to the younger lads and help them at the club as well.