Rowett ends Stoke rumours with new Derby contract

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Derby County have announced that manager Gary Rowett has signed a new three-and-a-half-year contract.

Rowett was linked with the vacant position at Stoke City after impressing during his time at Pride Park, in which he has guided Derby to second place in the Championship table.

However, the 43-year-old insists he is eager to help the Rams in their promotion push, despite being "flattered" by reported interest from Premier League clubs.

"I would like to thank my immediate staff and back-office teams who have been a massive factor in our progress to date, and will be a critical part of our success moving forward," he told Derby's official website.

"The first-team squad have also been superb to work with and have really embraced the changes we felt were necessary for success; they are a joy to work with.

"I would also like to thank our chairman, Mel Morris, for the support and guidance he has provided in so many areas of the club.

"We have a great relationship which is critical, particularly when so many things needed rapid change. I am looking forward to the future and helping to guide Derby County back to the Premier League, where it belongs."

Rowett added to the Daily Telegraph: "While I'm flattered by the speculation linking me with a big Premier League club like Stoke, my aim has never changed.

"After finally getting the opportunity to manage Derby County, I want to finish the job I came here to do - to get promotion.

"Of course, there are no guarantees but what we will do is work very hard to try to make that happen."

Former West Ham boss Slaven Bilic and Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill are two of clear the favourites to succeed Mark Hughes at Stoke.

Derby resume their Championship campaign on Sunday against Birmingham City, the club who sacked Rowett in December 2016 despite being seventh in the table.