NEW signing George Thorne is confident Derby County are heading back to the top flight.
"I would not have signed if I didn't think the club could be promoted to the Premier League," said the midfielder, who joined the Rams at the weekend.
"I truly believe this is a club on the up and I am excited to be a part of it," added Thorne.
The fee for the 21-year-old is undisclosed, although speculation is putting it at around £2m plus add-ons.
If so, it represents the biggest fee paid by Derby since they landed Argentine striker Emanuel Villa for £2m from Mexican club UAG Tecos in January 2008.
Thorne has signed a four-year contract and is targeting an immediate return to the division above.
"I've left a club from the top flight and I want to get back there as soon as I can," added Thorne, who believes Derby's style of play suits him.
He broke into the team in March when John Eustace was suspended for the home League game against Nottingham Forest.
The Rams won 5-0 and Thorne kept his place in the holding role in midfield.
Looking back, he said: "I really enjoyed the loan spell last season and working with Steve McClaren.
"I think the style of play suits me down to the ground and a key factor in coming here permanently is the chance to play first-team football."
Thorne has also been impressed with the way Derby have retained key players.
Craig Bryson, wanted by newly-promoted Burnley, signed a new long-term deal, as did Will Hughes, Jeff Hendrick, Jake Buxton and Craig Forsyth.
"The way the club has kept the key players has been fantastic. It is a sign that Derby County is building for the future," said Thorne.