Six members of Derby County’s 2023/24 Sky Bet League One promotion-winning squad are to depart the club this summer.

Striker Dwight Gayle, midfielder and captain Conor Hourihane, goalkeeper Scott Loach, midfielder Korey Smith, striker Martyn Waghorn and goalkeeper Joe Wildsmith are to move on after the club submitted its retained list.

The players contributed in their own ways as the Rams secured promotion to the Championship and leave with the club’s heartfelt thanks for their impacts and very best wishes for the future.

Gayle, who is 34, had a short spell with the Rams. He arrived as a free agent, following his departure from Stoke City, in February a result of injuries in the striking department.

He played six times in total but still made a hefty contribution by scoring three times in the wins over Port Vale, Bristol Rovers and Reading in March as the side further strengthened their grip on an automatic promotion spot.

Midfielder Hourihane, 33, leaves Derby after making 98 appearances across two seasons, scoring on 13 occasions, and he wore the captain’s armband throughout the 2023/24 campaign.

The Irishman netted the first goal of the club’s new era in the 1-0 home win against Oxford United in July 2022, while he also scored two crucial winners in the second half of the Rams’ promotion campaign against Burton Albion and Reading at Pride Park Stadium.

Shot-stopper Loach, 35, acted as understudy to both Joe Wildsmith and Josh Vickers in 2023/24. He failed to make an appearance but was a key member of the goalkeeping department on the training ground.

He leaves Derby after making three appearances, all in the EFL Trophy, during the 2022/23 season and committed a significant amount of time to help pass on his vast experience to the club’s young goalkeepers at Moor Farm.

Experienced and versatile midfielder Smith will move on after making 85 appearances across his two years at Pride Park, scoring once in the 3-1 victory at Blackpool in October 2023.

The 33-year-old performed at right-back for long spells of his first year in black and white before featuring on a more regular basis in midfield in 2023/24, returning from a knee injury in the second half of the season to contribute to the side earning promotion.

Waghorn, 34, leaves Derby for the second time in his career, after returning on a one-year deal last summer and does so having played 150 times and scored on 37 occasions across those two spells.

He played 27 times in 2023/24 and scored seven times, notably notching a first half hat-trick in the 4-2 victory at fellow promotion contenders Peterborough United in the early stages of the campaign.

Goalkeeper Wildsmith, 28, departs after two years with Derby. During that time, he recorded 97 appearances in all competitions and was the winner of the League One Golden Glove for the 2023/24 season.

In the Rams’ promotion push he made what turned out to be the Save of the Season with a vital stop in the first half of the 1-0 home win over promotion rivals Bolton Wanderers in March.

Derby County wishes to thank every departing player for their contributions throughout their respective periods at the club, including playing their part in the memorable achievement of the club securing promotion back to the Championship in the 2023/24 season, as well as wishing them the very best of luck in the future.