Derby County have confirmed the signing of free agent Martyn Waghorn on a one-year deal following a successful period training with the club.
The 33-year-old is no stranger to Rams fans having spent three years at Pride Park between 2018 and 2021, famously scoring a brace on the final day of the 2020/21 Championship campaign during a 3-3 draw with Sheffield Wednesday which secured the club’s safety.
That looked as though it would be his final game for Derby following his release at the end of the season, but that is no longer the case with Waghorn now back on the Rams’ books.
In his previous 123 appearances for the club, the striker scored 30 times and registered 13 assists as he established himself as a fan favourite.
Two years have passed since his exit, during which he signed for Coventry City and endured a short loan spell at Huddersfield Town away from his parent club last season.
It has been a difficult period for Waggy, despite being labelled a ‘model professional’ by Terriers boss Neil Warnock, who managed just three goals and three assists in that time combined, but he is ‘hungry as ever’ on his return to Derby.
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Asked what had changed about him since his last spell at the club, the returning Ram said the following;
“[I am] a lot more experienced, I have developed my game to fit certain situations,” said Waghorn to RamsTV.
“I am more of a well-rounded player and somebody that has gained a lot of knowledge on how to play [in] certain situations and understand the game a little bit better.
“I am still [as] hungry as ever. Still want to win, still want to achieve, still want to score goals and just give 100% to the team.”
Waghorn impressed in Craig Forsyth’s testimonial match and earned a chorus of ‘sign him up’ from the Derby fans in attendance. The same happened in the following friendly against Sheffield United.
What impact might Waghorn have?
They have got their wish and the ex-Rangers man could now prove to be a vital addition for the club who were desperately in need of forward additions.
Able to play both centrally or out wide, similarly to fellow summer recruit Conor Washington, Waghorn provides both experience and quality in the final third.
It will be his first taste of League One football following six consecutive Championship seasons, could he prove to be a difference maker
It is still likely that the Rams will still bring in another forward with Michael Smith and Billy Sharp both linked in the last few days, however, on a free transfer this could turn out to be a very shrewd piece of business that benefits the squad.