Chris Kirchner has claimed Derby County do not look like a side that has been relegated.
The American businessman is closing in on the purchase of the Rams after a protracted saga over the club’s ownership.
Wayne Rooney’s side went into administration in September, which set the tone for a tumultuous campaign.
The club were docked 21-points as part of their financial difficulties, which assured it would be a struggle to avoid the drop.
But the side did come close to challenging for their survival but found they were left with too much to do with too little resources.
That means Derby will be competing in League One next season, but Kirchner is confident that the team can bounce back next year to return to the Championship.
The businessman visited the training ground ahead of this weekend’s clash with Cardiff City and was pleased with what he saw.
“It is funny, you go and watch the guys at training, like I was out today [Thursday] again and mainly out of superstition because I watched it before the Fulham match so I said I’ve got to go and see it again because it worked,” said Kirchner, via Derbyshire Live.
“It doesn’t look like a team that has been relegated, it doesn’t look like a team that is going into their last game that you can say is meaningless, they are not that way.
“The competition is still there. There is so much character in this group and Wayne [manager Wayne Rooney] of course, that is another big reason why I am here.”
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Derby go into the final game of the regular season aiming to finish above Barnsley in the table to ensure a 22nd place finish.
Rooney’s side won their previous game away to Blackpool so will also be looking to end the season on a high note in front of their home fans.
The two sides meet on May 7.
Once the sale can be finalised to give Kirchner ownership of the club, everyone can properly start planning for life in the third tier.
The club will have their work cut out for them to compete at the top of League One, it isn’t an easy division to get out of.
The finances of the club will need to remain in order while also looking at ways to improve the squad.
But Rooney has certainly built a solid base with the team and the side was very competitive in the Championship this season, so keeping the 36-year old at the helm could be key.