Relegated Rams sign Zadkovich

Derby County, already relegated from the English Premier League this season, have signed Sydney FC's Australia international Ruben Zadkovich on a two-year contract. The 21-year-old, who can play in central midfield or at right-back, will team up with compatriot Mile Sterjovski, who arrived at Pride Park in January.

Zadkovich joins the Rams after last month deciding to leave Sydney at the end of his deal with the club to become a free agent. The player impressed during a recent trial, with manager Paul Jewell quick to make him an offer as he plots an immediate return to the top flight.

"Ruben impressed us enormously in training," remarked Jewell on Thursday. "A number of clubs have been interested in him, and we wanted to make sure we didn't miss out on a fantastic talent."

It is understood Crystal Palace manager Neil Warnock was among those keeping a close eye on the Aussie, who began his career in Queens Park Rangers' youth and reserve teams. Zadkovich then joined Notts County in March 2005, and although he scored on his debut, he moved on to Sydney six months later after making only six starts.

Zadkovich made 42 appearances for Sydney, scoring two goals, and recently earned a call-up to the national team after previously representing his country at U-20 and U-23 level.