FORMER Derby County player and coach Craig Short is ready for a carnival atmosphere at Pride Park when Oxford United kick-off the new season.

The Rams have been plagued by financial problems in recent years and went into administration last September.

The automatic 12-point deduction was followed by a nine-point docking in November, and despite the best efforts of former manager Wayne Rooney, Derby were relegated to Sky Bet League One in April.

The former England star left the club last month, but there is an air of optimism at Pride Park since lifelong fan David Clowes took over on July 1.

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Derby have come out of administration and made a number of marquee signings, including the likes of James Chester, Conor Hourihane and David McGoldrick.

As the Rams embark on their first season in the third tier since promotion in 1986, Short knows the size of his former side all too well – but said the U’s will head to Pride Park knowing they can get a result.

“There will be 30,000 there after the new ownership, it’s a big club and they shouldn’t be down here,” United’s assistant manager said.

“It’ll be exciting for our lads, when we went to Sheffield Wednesday last year and got a big result it was a big moment for some of them to play at a ground like that.

“Hopefully we can turn up there a little bit stronger in depth and full of confidence.

“It was a big shock in my first year when I came here, some teams play the way we want to play but we get the physical challenges as well.”

In adding Chester, Hourihane and McGoldrick, Derby have not just added top-flight experience, but a trio which boasts 85 international caps.

The Rams have also signed proven Sky Bet Championship players like former Luton Town striker James Collins and ex-Preston North End forward Tom Barkhuizen.

Former Aston Villa defender Chester has 35 caps for Wales, while Hourihane and McGoldrick have played for the Republic of Ireland 36 and 14 times respectively.

Short said: “Whatever they sign, that first game of the season will be very difficult because the place is in a feel-good moment.

“I think it’s probably the worst time to play them, and I’m not making excuses but I think there’s going to be a full house, that club has now turned full circle and they’re on the rise.

“Every game’s tough, it’ll be a real spectacle going there with near on 30,000 and with the way we play, it’ll be an entertaining game.”