Derby seal promotion to Championship

Derby County have clinched automatic promotion to the Sky Bet Championship after a 2-0 win against Carlisle, two years after they were relegated to the third tier.

The Rams only needed a draw at home to League One’s bottom side but got off to a flying start – Max Bird giving them a fifth-minute lead with a stunning 25-yard effort on his 200th appearance for Derby County.

James Collins put the result to bed for Derby with a close-range strike in the second half.

Derby County go up with 92 points, representing a club-record points haul.

Bird: This is unbelievable

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Max Bird edges Derby closer to promotion with stunning opener

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James Collins pounces to double Derby’s lead and put them on the brink of promotion

Derby County’s Max Bird to Sky Sports: “It’s unbelievable. It’s how I dreamt about it and how all the lads dreamt about it.

“We stood together during low times and today is probably my best day at the club.

“I’m a bit lost for words, and it’s a bit cliche, but it’s incredible.

“The fans have been waiting for this all season. We’ve wanted to do it as a group, we’ve got a really good group – young lads real experienced pros as well – but it’s been absolutely top, a top season.”

Hourihane: This is special

Derby County’s Conor Hourihane to Sky Sports: “It’s been tough work, every season is, but credit to the lads. They have been absolutely fantastic.

“We had a job to do – and I’m not going to lie it was tough during the week – but credit to the lads again.

“I’m just delighted. It’s really special. It’s amazing.

Warne: I’m really proud

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Paul Warne was proud of his Derby side after they earned promotion back to the Championship with a final-day win over Carlisle

Derby County manager Paul Warne to Sky Sports: “I’m just exhausted. We played really nervy. We knew Carlisle would make it difficult. We didn’t play our best.

“Other scores kept coming through my ears and it wasn’t a game to enjoy. But obviously in the last 15 or 20 minutes I thought we’d do well to mess this up!

“So, overall, really pleased and really proud of what everyone has done here. Promotion is never easy and this year the lads have been excellent so I’m really proud.

“We got a two-point average which is what we wanted so it’s a massive tick for everyone.”

‘Time to look forward to the future’

Punjabi Rams official supporters’ group founder Pav Samra to Sky Sports News: “It is fantastic today to celebrate promotion back to the Championship, less than a week after watching our women’s team lift their first major trophy (National League Plate).

“Two years ago, we marched to save our club (from administration), words cannot describe the emotions and the passion of that day. Two years later, David Clowes (owner) and this brilliant group (of staff and players) have saved us and got us back up.

“Now we need to stabilise and look forward to the future – and get the Rams back-to-back, where they belong, back in the Premier League.”

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