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Derby County swoop for Blackburn Rovers striker Leon Best

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: August 04, 2014

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LEON Best is to join Derby County on a season-long loan, writes Steve Nicholson.

The 27-year-old Blackburn Rovers striker could train with his new team-mates today.

Derby have been searching for competition and cover for last season's top scorer, Chris Martin.

Rams head coach Steve McClaren said after Saturday's 2-0 victory over Rangers that he was hoping to add one or two players to the squad ahead of the opening Championship game against Rotherham.

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"We certainly are because we feel we're short in one or two positions," he said.

Best, born in Nottingham, has hit 59 goals in 251 games in his career.

The Republic of Ireland international started his career at Southampton and has also played for Coventry City and Newcastle United.

He scored five goals in 16 games on loan at Sheffield Wednesday last season.

Best (pictured) joined Blackburn from Newcastle two years ago in a £3m deal and signed a four-year contract. He still has two years of his deal to run.

Derby could also be looking for a centre-back, according to McClaren.

Jake Buxton (hip flexor), Zak Whitbread (cracked rib) and Mark O'Brien (ankle) were all unavailable against Rangers.

Craig Forsyth had to switch from left-back in the 2-0 win although Derby hope Buxton will be fit to face Rotherham at the iPro Stadium on Saturday.

Asked about the injuries to defenders, McClaren said: "That is a bit worrying. Fozzy (Forsyth) stepped in and did well, but we need to look into that position.

"We are hoping Jake's injury is not too serious and he will be back for Saturday. Mark O'Brien turned an ankle in training in Austria and he is going to be a couple of weeks while Zak took a bang when we played Northampton Town and it turned out to be a cracked rib."

Derby are also being linked with Chelsea youngster Nathan Ake and Tottenham Hotspur's Tom Carroll as they consider their midfield options in the absence of the injured George Thorne.

"We are still looking to improve our squad because the success of last season was not just the team but the squad players making an impact," said McClaren.

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