CHIEF executive Sam Rush insists Derby County are under no pressure to sell any of their top players this summer.
The Rams face another season in the Championship after losing the play-off final at Wembley.
Defeat by Queen’s Park Rangers could spark more transfer speculation surrounding the club’s talented youngsters, like midfielder Will Hughes.
Rush has dismissed suggestions that missing out on promotion might make it difficult for Derby to keep hold of the England Under-21 intermational, who has been linked with all of the leading clubs in the Premier League in the past year.
“There is no indication Will Hughes will be going,” said Rush.
“Will is on a long-term contract with us, as are all of our squad, and we are in no hurry to make changes to our squad.
“The key message is that we’re looking to strengthen, not looking to dispose of players.
“We’re looking to retain the squad we have and looking to strengthen, if necessary.
“If you apply logic, why would players want to leave a club like this?
“There’s no pressure to sell players.
“Certainly during my time here we haven’t let anybody go other than for football reasons.
“Steve McClaren will advise us who he wants to retain, and as far as I know he wants to retain everyone.
“Derby is not looking to improve by selling its best players.”
Hughes and Jeff Hendrick are two young players who have caught the eye of Premier League clubs.
The likes of 25-goal Chris Martin as well as Craig Bryson, who scored 16 goals from midfield, have enjoyed impressive seasons.
But Rush’s message is clear.
“We want to keep the core of the players and we are looking forward to this group going one step better next season,” he said.
“To make sure the squad is equally as strong if not stronger next season is what we are striving to achieve.
“We are looking to build on our strong foundations.
“I reallly believe in the group of players.
“I believe we’ve got a young, hungry, aspirational squad, coached by an aspirational manager and coaching team.
“It suggests to me success is not very far away.”