According to a report in the Daily Record (live blog, deadline day at 10:54am), Nottingham Forest are one of four Championship clubs keen on signing free agent Efe Ambrose.

Derby County manager Frank Lampard has in the past few days cited the importance of signing a new centre-back. The Rams are down to the bare bones there, having allowed Alex Pearce to join Millwall on loan.

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Richard Keogh and Tomori Fikayo are the regular pairing. It only takes an injury or suspension to either, though, to leave Derby in a pickle.

“They’ve been fantastic, but need help,” Lampard told BBC Derby Sport.

“We need to strengthen in the centre-back position. That is clear. It is hugely important. We have two centre-backs who have played a lot of minutes.”

Derby did manage to strengthen on deadline day, signing midfielder Andy King on loan from Leicester City. A defensive recruitment, however, eluded them though free agent Ambrose could solve the problem.

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What Efe Ambrose could offer Derby County

The 31-year-old recently left Scottish Premiership side Hibernian after invoking a clause in his contract allowing for a January exit. His situation has reportedly alerted Wigan Athletic, Bolton Wanderers, Sheffield Wednesday and Derby’s biggest rivals Forest.

The Rams would be wise to move in for him on a similar short-term deal to new recruit Ashley Cole.

Ambrose, a 51-capped Nigeria international, has an abundance of experience having lifted the Scottish title four times with Celtic. Composed in possession and naturally athletic, he would be a sound short-term fit at Pride Park.

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Derby have their sights set on promotion the Premier League this season, but they have left themselves in a vulnerable position defensively.

Andre Wisdom, Tom Huddlestone, George Evans and Scott Malone are all defensive players who could potentially fill in at centre-back, yet none would quite do the job you would expect from a natural in that role.

Signing Ambrose given the situation is a no-brainer, and it could make a big difference to Derby’s promotion prospects.

Also see: Could trip to Deepdale provide Ikechi Anya with one last chance to save his Derby County career?

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