Derby County: Zak Whitbread to stay on loan from Leicester

Derby County have extended the loan spell of Leicester defender Zak Whitbread until the end of the season.

The 29-year-old originally joined the Rams at the end of September.

Coach Paul Simpson told the Derby website:  "Zak has been brilliant when he's played. He's been unfortunate to be out injured for the last few weeks.

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We're pleased Zak has agreed to stay with us for the rest of the season

Paul Simpson Derby County coach

"It was disappointing for him, and us, to have a spell out of action, but he's back fit now and been on the bench for the last three games.

The United States-born centre-back scored on his debut when Derby drew 4-4 with Ipswich in October and went on to start boss Steve McClaren's first two matches in charge, before picking up calf strain which kept him out of action for eight weeks.

But the former Liverpool, Millwall and Norwich defender has since returned to full fitness and was a substitute for matches with Huddersfield Town, Barnsley and Wigan Athletic.

"Zak gives us good security in terms of defensive options, especially with Richard Keogh being out with a knee injury at the moment," added Simpson.

"Michael Keane has stepped in alongside Jake Buxton, who has been a rock for us, but Zak gives us cover beyond that and especially from a left-sided centre-half point of view.

"We're pleased Zak has agreed to stay with us because he started his time with us well and he's got good experience too, which is always vital during the second half of the season."