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Ashley Cole signs with Lampard’s Derby County

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Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole won eight major trophies together as players, now they’re teaming up once more — only this time, left back Cole will be playing for manager Lampard.

[ MORE: Arsenal’s head of recruitment leaving club after one year ]

Derby County announced on Monday that the 38-year-old Cole has signed a six-month contract to aid the Championship side’s push for Premier League promotion. The Rams currently sit sixth in England’s second division, holding onto the fourth and final playoff place by a slim two-point margin.

Cole has been without a club since the 2018 MLS season ended and LA Galaxy declined his option for 2019.

Lampard, predictably, is quite pleased he’ll be working with his former teammate and longtime friend in an all new capacity:

“I’m delighted that we’ve been able to secure Ashley’s services for the rest of the season.

“He’s a fantastic player, a quality left back, and he also brings great experience to the dressing room.

“Ashley is in good shape, which doesn’t surprise me because he’s an excellent professional, and he will compete for a place in the side like every other player here.

“I’ve made my feelings known over the last couple of days just how highly I think of Ashley and I have no doubt whatsoever he will be a positive addition to our squad.”

Report: Ashley Cole considering offer from Derby, Lampard

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Ashley Cole probably thought that when he joined the LA Galaxy in 2016, it would be the last club he played for before, literally, relaxing on a beach in retirement.

[ Transfer rumor roundup: Klopp wants USMNT starlet; Higuain dominoes ]

Considering he was 36 at the time — he is now 38 — it seemed obvious that England’s 107-times-capped left back would play out a final few years in MLS before calling full-time on his decorated career. Three years later, Cole might still do just that.

He might also resume playing after receiving a six-month contract offer from Championship side and promotion chasers Derby County, who are now coached by one of Cole’s longtime teammates and friends at Chelsea and England, Frank Lampard.

[ MORE: Top Premier League storylines for Week 23 ]

Cole has been without a club since his option was declined by the Galaxy following the end of the 2018 season.

According to the Guardian, the chance to play alongside a largely young, but promising, squad of players and to help Lampard guide the club to the Premier League in his first season as manager is very appealing to Cole.

FA Cup: Derby County knocks out Southampton

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Derby County never led in either leg of it’s FA Cup tie with Southampton, but they won’t care about it one bit.

Frank Lampard’s Derby County sent Southampton packing out of the FA Cup with a 5-3 win on penalty kicks. Derby County captain Richard Keogh scored the winning penalty kick.

Both teams had tied 2-2 in regulation in both legs, and neither team could find the breakthrough in extra time.

With the win, Derby County advances to face Accrington Stanley in the fourth round.

Derby County thought it had taken the lead in the 39th minute, when Martyn Waghorn found Craig Bryson open in the box before Bryson finished into the bottom corner, leading to massive celebrations for the Championship side. However, those celebrations were shortlived, as the Video Assistant Referee called back the goal as Bryson was judged to be offside.

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In the second half, Southampton thought it had put this game to rest with two goals in 136 seconds. In the 67th minute, Stuart Armstrong put home a ball cleared off the line by Derby to give the Saints a lead, and a little more than two minutes later, Nathan Redmond beat the offside trap and finished with a delightful chip past Derby goalkeeper Kelle Roos. VAR checked both goals but didn’t have a problem with either.

Even with the two-goal disadvantage, Lampard’s side didn’t give up despite being on the road in a mid-week fixture. In the 76th minute, Harry Wilson curled a free kick from 30-yards away into a dangerous part of the box. It may have taken a touch off a Derby player but the result was the same, a goal, with Southampton goalkeeper Angus Gunn rooted to his line. Six minutes later, Wilson was at it again, curling in a cross that was finished by Waghorn with a powerful header.

After a sometimes breathless, end-to-end 30 minutes of extra time, both teams headed to penalty kicks to determine the winner. Each team’s first penalty kick was good but Southampton’s second, taken by Redmond, was sent wide and high of the goal. Derby County made the rest of their penalty kicks, sparking massive celebrations in the away end of St. Mary’s as Derby County is moving on.

FOLLOW LIVE: Southampton v. Derby County

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Southampton and Derby County chase the final spot in the fourth round proper of the 2018-19 FA Cup with a replay at St. Mary’s on Wednesday.

[ FOLLOW: FA Cup scoreboard ]

The clubs drew 2-2 at Pride Park on Jan. 5, with a Nathan Redmond 2-0 lead going to waste for the Premier League visitors.

The victor gets a trip to the Crown Ground to face League One’s Accrington Stanley on Jan. 26.

Full fourth round fixture list

Jan. 25
Arsenal v. Manchester United

Jan. 26
Accrington Stanley v. Derby County or Southampton
Brighton and Hove Albion v. West Bromwich Albion
Bristol City v. Bolton
Doncaster Rovers v. Oldham Athletic
Man City v. Burnley
Middlesbrough v. Newport County
Newcastle United v. Watford
Portsmouth v. Queens Park Rangers
Swansea City v. Gillingham
Shrewsbury Town v. Wolves
Millwall v. Everton
AFC Wimbledon v. West Ham United

Jan. 27
Crystal Palace v. Spurs
Chelsea v. Sheffield Wednesday

Jan. 28
Barnet v. Brentford

Derby County confirm training ground spy a Leeds employee

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UPDATE (2:25 pm ET): Marcelo Bielsa publicly admitted to sending an employee to spy on Derby County training. He took full responsibility for his actions, saying nobody instructed him to do so.

Even more shockingly, Bielsa admitted to making use of training ground spies as far back as 17 years ago. “Without trying to find any form of justification, I have been using this practice since the [2002] World Cup qualifications with Argentina,” Bielsa told Sky Sports.

When asked if he is aware of any rules preventing this action, he said, “It doesn’t matter if it’s legal or illegal or right or wrong. For me it’s enough that Frank Lampard and Derby felt it was not the right thing to do.” Reports state Bielsa called Derby manager Frank Lampard to admit to the action before going public.

Bielsa coached Argentina from 1998-2004, and led the Chilean national team from 2007-2011. Since, he has taken charge of club teams Marseille, Lazio, Lille, and now Leeds, hired by the English club in June.

There are no particular rules against spying on opposing clubs, but the English FA could punish Bielsa for bringing the game into disrepute if it determines the offense is grounds for such a charge.

Lampard also told media Friday afternoon that the club noticed someone acting suspiciously around the training ground before they lost 4-1 to Leeds in August. “On a sportsman’s level, it’s bad in my opinion,” Lampard said. “If we’re going to start talking about ‘culturally I did it somewhere else so it’s fine,’ then that doesn’t work for me because I don’t believe it is fine on that level. It’s disrupted our buildup to this game.”


Derby County has released a statement confirming that a man caught reportedly spying on their training session was an employee of Championship rivals Leeds United, whom the Rams are set to play later today.

According to reports on Thursday evening and Friday morning, police were called when it was discovered a man was “acting suspiciously outside the premises” at the club training ground. Reports say the man was watching Frank Lampard’s training session with binoculars, and was also in possession of pliers and a change of clothes.

The Derby County club statement went one step further, confirming that the employee was a member of the Leeds United staff. Leeds sits atop the Championship table, and the two have a vitally important league match with Derby just eight points back in a hotly contested Championship promotion race.

While they did not confirm the identity of the man, Derbyshire police did address the incident on social media Thursday, saying, “Officers have just attended the Training Ground for @dcfcofficial After a suspicious male was seen at the perimeter fence. Excellent searching conducted & male was located. All checks above board!
Keeping the team safe to bring home a win against on 11th!”

Police say they did not make an arrest, and instead the man was simply “sent on his way.” In the club statement, Derby County confirmed they are “in discussion with Leeds United club officials in relation to this incident.”

Derby has done well under new manager Lampard this year, but they have just one win in their last five league matches and desperately need a high-profile result to avoid further trouble as they sit at the bottom of the playoff positions. Meanwhile, Marcelo Bielsa has Leeds atop the standings, just two points ahead of Norwich City.