Premier League strugglers Derby County yesterday named former Wigan coach Paul Jewell as their new manager.
The Midlands outfit sacked Billy Davies on Monday and chairman Adam Pearson moved swiftly to snatch the highly regarded Jewell who had turned down an offer to move back into his old job at Wigan.
But it appeared former Manchester United and England midfielder Paul Ince, now in charge of Milton Keynes Dons, may have been Derby's first choice after the leaders of League Two, English soccer's third tier, said they'd rejected County's approach to speak to him before Jewell's appointment.
Jewell told a news conference that he was facing one of the toughest challenges of his career to keep Derby in the top flight. They are currently bottom of the league and have won just once in the Premiership this season.
Asked if he could succeed, Jewell replied: "Absolutely. If I don't believe it, if the players don't believe it, if the fans don't believe it we have no chance."
"It's going to be very difficult but I'm not here to wave the white flag. We're not adrift," Jewell said.
Jewell has signed a three-and-a-half-year deal at Pride Park and insists although the appointment has been a speedy one he is ready to dig in for a long haul with the club following six months out of the game.
"I've taken time out of football to reflect on how I can get better," he said. "That time has not just been spent playing golf, I've done a lot of traveling and watched a lot of football."
"We're in a struggling situation but all is not lost and I'm here for the long term to try and get the club strong and upward and in the right direction," Jewell said.
"Every challenge is a big challenge -- be it Bradford, Sheffield Wednesday or Wigan," Jewell said as he recalled his previous managerial posts.
"But this one really excites me. There is a lot of history in this football club but the history doesn't count for a lot these days," Jewell said of a side that were twice crowned champions of England in the 1970s. "I think we can move the club forward."
Jewell said he'd only been contacted by Pearson on Monday and that nothing had been discussed in terms of money for transfers.
"The chairman called me yesterday, it was the first time I've spoken to him ever -- despite what people might think," Jewell said.
"People always ask about money but we want to move forward, there will be money available if and when we want to strengthen," he said.