New Derby County duo Darren Bent and Alex Pearce are both looking to improve on last season's disappointments after sealing a move to the iPro Stadium.The pair become the first signings of new boss Paul Clement's managerial career, and both players are excited for the challenge ahead.
Bent ended the 2014/15 season on loan at the Rams, who missed out on a Sky Bet Championship Play-Off place on the last day of the season. After being released by Aston Villa, Bent admitted Derby was the only place he wanted to be.
“I’d had a difficult few years at Aston Villa so it was perfect to come here, play games and score goals,” the 31-year-old told the club's official website.
“I also struck up a good relationship with everyone at the club. Speaking to the fans and people in the street I got a good feeling and it was a place I wanted to come back to.”
The former England international hit 12 goals in 17 games during his temporary stay last term, and is eager to fire the Rams to promotion this time around.
“The end to last season was disappointing but if anything it made me hungrier to come back and try to succeed this time around,” Bent added.
“It was a shame how the season ended because we had put ourselves in such a good position to go up, but I hope I can come back and help to rectify that this year.”
Joining the striker at the iPro is Alex Pearce, who arrives on a three-year deal after departing his boyhood club, Reading - and the defender is ready for the new challenge.
“Last season, admittedly, was a difficult season for Reading,” said Pearce. “I have been at Reading for a long time, I have been there since I was 12-years-old, but there is always a time in your life when you have to move on with certain things and this is the time for me.
“I need a fresh challenge and this is exactly what I’m looking for. I’m looking at a new challenge of trying to get promoted with Derby County.”
The Republic of Ireland international is looking forward to working under Clement and is excited to be a part of a new era at the club.
“The ambition of the club was a huge pull for me. I know that he [Clement] has got a pedigree within the game, a great reputation as a coach and has worked at the top level, so I am excited about the prospect of working with him,” the 26-year-old added.
“It’s a fresh start for me; it’s a fresh start for himself and everyone else at the club. It’s really exciting and I just can’t wait to get started and get cracking in the Championship.”