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Sky Bet Championship One to Watch: Derby County's Jake Buxton

31 July 2014

Derby County's Jake Buxton will be looking for more of the same in 2014/15 after being named Supporters Player of the Year last season.

In 52 appearances during 2013/14, Buxton scored twice and helped the Rams to 15 clean sheets, picking up a staggering low of just three yellow cards in the process.

His discipline, strength and leadership at the heart of the Derby defence helped the side to the Sky Bet Championship Play-Off Final at Wembley Stadium, where they agonisingly lost 1-0 to Queens Park Rangers.

Despite that heartache, it's been a remarkable journey for the central defender.

Born just 20 miles from Derby's iPro Stadium, in Sutton-in-Ashfield, the defender is now in his sixth season at the club with 132 appearances under his belt, having previously played for Mansfield Town and Burton Albion.

And it was at Burton where he was offered his lifeline back into football, having been released by Mansfield in 2008 after relegation.

Six years ago, the now 29-year-old was told by his wife Danielle to make a career from football or abandon the sport for a steady nine-to-five job instead.

Spray-painting cars and working on building sites followed, before Nigel Clough signed Buxton at the Brewers with the Conference Premier title following shortly afterwards.

They both moved to Derby together, and although Clough has now moved on to Sheffield United, Buxton continues to thrive in Derbyshire.

Not only will Buxton's beard prove inspiration for a generally young Rams squad, so will his ability to defend with style and composure alongside Richard Keogh at the heart of the defence.

Those performances have been rewarded by current boss Steve McClaren with a new three-year contract at the iPro, as the defender looks to go one better than last term.

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