The man from Portsmouth's past with Midas touch now on his way to Derby County from Oxford United

He was a man considered for Pompey’s sporting director role.
Derby County have brought in former Pompey man Mark Thomas as their new analyst.Derby County have brought in former Pompey man Mark Thomas as their new analyst.
Derby County have brought in former Pompey man Mark Thomas as their new analyst.

That would have meant a return to the club he spent four years with, before his exit in 2014.

Instead, Mark Thomas is now on his way to Derby County after being brought in as the club’s new head of recruitment.

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The Rams’ gain will undoubtedly be the loss of Oxford United, with Thomas developing an excellent reputation for identifying young players in his time at the Kassam Stadium.

It was former Pompey boss Michael Appleton who took Thomas up the A34, after working with him at Fratton Park when he was an analyst.

While with the Us Thomas built a record of bringing in players and then selling them on in big-money deals.

The likes of Kemar Roofe, Marvin Johnson, Rob Dickie, Gavin Whyte, Rob Atkinson and Luke McNally were some who fell into that category.

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It was that work which brought Thomas to the attention of Pompey, as they sought to brings someone into the overarching position on the football operation.

That process proved far from straightforward with Richard Hughes identified as the man for the role last summer.

Hughes initially decided to stay with Forest Green, with Cambridge United’s Ben Strang another person whose credentials impressed along with Thomas.

A move for Thomas never accelerated, however, with Hughes eventually landed last September.

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Derby will now be his new home, however, with owner David Clowes showing ambition after taking the club out of administration last summer.

Thomas admitted that opportunity excites him, as he leaves an outfit he’s built a strong affiliation with.

He told Oxford’s official site: ‘I am leaving behind a really special club and a lot of people who I know will remain friends for life.

‘It has been challenging, but I am very grateful to the club for providing me with the opportunity to design and implement a recruitment structure and strategy I believe in. I am extremely proud of the work we have done together over the past nine seasons; developing young players and seeing the club grow and push for promotion.

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‘However, it’s now time for a new challenge, and the chance to join a huge club like Derby was too exciting to turn down. I know I am leaving a club that has extremely exciting plans and I leave on the best of terms, wishing everyone the best of luck for the future.’

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