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Tuite joins Rams Irish contingent

DERBY COUNTY could get some ref treatment from their latest signing as new arrival Jack Tuite has deep respect for match officials -- his dad, Paul, is a prominent League of Ireland referee.

The Rams have a strong connection with Ireland and have seen Dublin lads Jeff Hendrick and Mark O'Brien progress from the academy into their first team in recent seasons, while Conor Sammon is also at the club.

O'Brien is currently on his way back from injury while the highly-rated Hendrick -- who was unfairly overlooked for a place in the Ireland squad this week with the call-up for the inexperienced Chelsea reserve Conor Clifford -- is a regular in the side, and now Tuite will join them at County after agreeing a move from Cherry Orchard.

His dad, Paul, is an experienced official in the League of Ireland and was on the touchline as fourth official for last night's FAI Cup semi-final at Tolka Park.

Academy manager Darren Wassall said: "Jack has spent some time with us over the last few weeks and he is a player with real potential.

"It's a great fillip for Derby County as a whole that we've been able to attract Jack and I think the positive news stories over the last year or so have played a big part in that.

"Players can see there's a pathway to the first-team squad here at Derby County for youngsters within the academy."

Lafferty gets Portugal call

FORMER Derry City man Daniel Lafferty has been drafted into the Northern Ireland squad for next week's World Cup qualifier against Portugal.

Michael O'Neill has been hit with a string of injuries as Martin Paterson, Shane Ferguson, Joe Dudgeon and James McPeak will all miss the clash with Cristiano Ronaldo and his team-mates.

So Burnley man Lafferty has been called in along with Lee Hodson and Rory McArdle.