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Football: No surrender, says new boss; Local football PREMIERSHIP FOOTBALL.

NEW Derby manager Paul Jewell insisted he would not "wave the white flag" in the club's battle with relegation - but accepts he faces one of the toughest challenges of his career.

Jewell, who left his job as Wigan manager after keeping them up on the final day of last season, was unveiled this week as Billy Davies' replacement and his first task was to try get the Rams off the bottom of the Barclays Premier League.

But despite the side's perilous situation, Jewell insists a first-time return to the Coca-Cola Championship is not a foregone conclusion.

Asked if he could keep the side up this season, he told a press conference: "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 towave the white flag. We're not adrift." Jewell has signed a three-and-a-half-year deal at Pride Park and insists that 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. That time has not just been spent playing golf, I've done a lot of travelling 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 to get the club strong and upward and in the right direction.

"Every challenge is a big challenge - be it Bradford, Sheffield Wednesday or Wigan 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.

"I think we can move the club forward. I'm looking forward to getting on the training pitch again.

Jewell claimed all of the current Derby players would be given an even chance to impress.

He said: "You are starting with a clean piece of paper and it's up to you to prove you are good enough to be in the team."

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NEW CHALLENGE: Derby boss Paul Jewell
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Dec 1, 2007
Words:364
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