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Derby County goalkeepers step up to the mark

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: July 28, 2014

By Steve Nicholson

Lee Grant

Lee Grant

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ERIC Steele is happy with how the goalkeeping department has developed at Derby County in the past ten months.

Lee Grant (pictured), signed on a free by former Rams boss Nigel Clough 12 months ago, is established as the club's number one.

Kelle Roos has stepped up as the number two while young keepers Jonathan Mitchell, Ross Etheridge and Mats Morch are also progressing.

Grant, Roos, Mitchell and Etheridge were all involved in the trip to Austria last week.

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Steele says the experience of being around the first team is invaluable for the younger keepers and also provides head coach Steve McClaren with an overview of the goalkeeping department.

"It was a great chance for the manager to have a good look at them," said Steele, the Rams goalkeeping coach.

"Jonathan Mitchell and Ross Etheridge were terrific in Austria.

"They took part in every training session. They new they were unlikely to feature in the games because we had Kelle and Lee, but they worked really hard in training where they came up against strikers like Chris Martin and Jamie Ward.

"I, as a goalkeeping coach, cannot give them that experience. I can give them a lot of the technical stuff they need, but that pace and tempo when training with the first team is invaluable."

Mitchell is 19 and signed this summer after his contract at Newcastle United expired.

Etheridge, also 19, is a product of the Rams Academy.

Pushing Grant's status as number one is 22-year-old Dutchman Roos, who joined Derby from Nuneaton Town in January.

He has started most of the pre-season games while Grant has been recovering from knee surgery, and Roos impressed in the friendly against Zenit St Petersburg.

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