Former Sheffield Wednesday pair find ambitious new club – could battle Owls for promotion this season
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Goalkeeper Joe Wildsmith and attacker Nathaniel Mendez-Laing have both been unveiled as Derby County players after their takeover by Rams-supporting businessman David Clowes was completed over the weekend.
Derby were relegated to League One in turbulent circumstances last season and the pair are two of several new players set to be announced in the coming days as Derby aim to make good on their ambitious promotion aspirations.
One of Sheffield Wednesday’s fellow third tier ‘big boys’, the club also announced the signing of former Preston North End midfielder Tom Barkhuizen on a day that shifts the landscape of the division’s promotion race.
The move takes Wildsmith, a former England youth international goalkeeper, to only his second permanent club after he came through the ranks of Wednesday’s academy.
At 26 years old and despite a handful of runs in the side, he failed to hold down the number one spot at Hillsborough and looks set to take the Rams’ gloves this season after the recent departures of Ryan Allsop and Kelle Roos.
Mendez-Laing was signed on an initial short-term deal in November last year and extended beyond January to complete the season with the Owls.
He played only 19 times for Darren Moore’s side in a stint that was interrupted by injury. He scored twice and added three assists to Wednesday’s promotion effort.
Several big-name players including former Sheffield United midfielder Conor Hourihane are expected to sign on at Pride Park.