Derby sign up Croatian

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The Independent Online
Derby County last night signed the Croatian defender Igor Stimac from Hajduk Split. "He wanted to come to England and wanted to play in the Premiership so the fact we have signed him is a considerable coup," the club's owner, Lionel Pickering, said of the 28-year-old 6ft 4in central defender.

Derby's manager, Jim Smith, funded the deal by selling Craig Short to Everton for pounds 2.65m, Paul Williams to Coventry for pounds 1m and Mark Pembridge to Sheffield Wednesday for pounds 900,000 during the summer. Derby struggled at the start of the season, but are only three points off a play-off place, and see Stimac as the player to galvanise their campaign. Stimac is set to make his debut at home to Ipswich on Saturday.

The Wimbledon manager, Joe Kinnear, has escaped further punishment after two possible breaches of his touchline ban, which expires at the end of the month, were reported to the FA.

Kinnear was seen by the pitch during matches against Liverpool, when Andy Thorn was "sent off" but then recalled, and against Sheffield Wednesday, but the FA has accepted explanations from match officials at the two games.

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