New lease of life for Derry
After spending almost his entire career in the lower leagues, Derry looked to have landed a second crack at the Premier League after helping Rangers win the Championship last term. But the 33-year-old - who managed just 11 top-flight appearances for Crystal Palace seven years ago before being bombed out - could have been forgiven for feelings of deja vu this summer when QPR embarked on a spending spree that saw the likes of Joey Barton, Shaun Wright-Phillips and Anton Ferdinand arrive at the club. Those fears would have proven unfounded, it seems, with Derry remaining an integral part of a midfield that looks more than capable of holding its own this season. He said of Rangers' spending: "I think it just gives you an added incentive to try to prove people wrong. "That seems to have been a regular occurrence throughout my career, that people have labelled me as a certain type of player and I'm still here at 33, so long may that continue. "I'm hoping that there are a number of years still in me, at a high level like this." Derry revealed manager Neil Warnock had given him advanced warning of the influx of talent to come at Loftus Road. He said: "As soon as the season ended, he took everybody into his room and said that there was going to be an overhaul of players for the forthcoming season and a huge amount of money was possibly being pumped into the club. "He was honest and you can't ask any more than that from a manager. He said that there were going to be new players in and it was up to me to stake a claim for the shirt." Warnock, who first signed Derry while he was in charge of Palace four years ago, admitted he himself thought the midfielder would make way this season. He added: "Shaun's surprised me for the last three years. "I signed him when I first went to Palace to keep us up in the Championship and he was training with the kids at Leeds, had been completely bombed out. "(Chairman) Simon Jordan said to me, 'What about Shaun Derry?'. "I said, 'We can take him for a few months but his legs have gone'. "I don't know what he's doing with his legs because his legs have got better and better and better and he's become better and better and better - and he more than looks a Premier League player. "There are a lot more strings to his bow than people give him credit for. "I've been delighted to see people like Shaun come through and play such an important part." Derry, who is expected to start Sunday's west London derby at Fulham, said: "I feel I've had a new lease of life for the last three or four years. "I'm not sure whether it comes with age but when you go out on the pitch, you know what your job is and it's made a lot easier with good players around you. "I'm thriving at the minute. I'm loving my football and loving coming to work every day." Barton has added to a midfield mix that also includes Alejandro Faurlin and enigmatic playmaker Adel Taarabt, who was QPR's talisman last season. Derry said: "We got the best out of him last year by being a team unit around him. "In my honest opinion, what's needed and what's required of him this year is to be more of a team player, but showing his individual skills at the same time. "I think he's started doing that."