Derby County drafed in Joe Ward to begin to shape their squad ahead of the 2023/24 season.
Ward joined Derby as a free agent on a three-year deal until 2026 after his contract with fellow Sky Bet League One side Peterborough United expired
The right-sider, who can play as a wing-back, winger or full-back, linked up with the Rams after spending a fruitful five-and-a-half years with the Posh, where he was their longest-serving player.
During his time with Peterborough, Ward achieved promotion to the Championship in the 2020/21 campaign and was named in the League One Team of the Season following several fine performances, alongside a healthy number of goals and assists.
Ward began his playing career in non-league football with Chelmsford City and, after establishing himself as a regular member of the team in the 2013/14 and 2014/15 seasons, his form saw him attract interest from several clubs higher up the football pyramid.
After enjoying trials at Brighton & Hove Albion and West Ham United, Ward went on to sign for then-Championship outfit Brighton in the summer of 2015 as a Development Squad player and he gained experience with the Seagulls in Premier League 2 in the 2015/16 season.
Ward went on to get more minutes under this belt in Premier League 2 and the EFL Trophy in 2016/17, while he also had a spell in the National League on loan at Lincoln City. During his time with the Imps he was able to gain league and FA Trophy experience, as well as coming off the bench in their FA Cup Fifth Round giantkilling win at Premier League Burnley and their subsequent Quarter-Final clash at Arsenal.
He was on the move again in the summer of 2017, after leaving Brighton as a free agent, and he linked up with National League side Woking. He played 37 times, scoring on seven occasions, and also earned a call-up to the England C squad before Peterborough United came calling in January 2018 after his consistent performances caught the eye.
Over the course of the next five-and-a-half seasons, Ward registered 232 appearances for the Posh and weighed in with 23 goals. In the 2020/21 season, as Peterborough gained promotion from League One, he netted five goals and registered 13 assists. His form also saw him rewarded with a place in the League One Team of the Season.
Ward was a regular in the Championship in the 2021/22 campaign, while back in League One in the 2022/23 season he chipped in with six goals and a further ten assists as the Posh pipped Derby to a play-off spot.
Ward’s senior career saw him join Derby with just under 350 appearances in all competitions to his name.
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