Wayne Rooney said he wants to rebuild Derby County but a takeover has to happen soon to keep him at Pride Park after the club was relegated from the Championship on Monday.
The Rams valiant attempt to stay up despite a 21-point deduction came to an end with a 1-0 defeat at QPR.
Reading’s recovery from 4-1 down to draw 4-4 at home to Swansea sealed Derby’s fate and left Barnsley and Peterborough also on the verge of going down.
Derby delayed Fulham’s promotion party with a stunning 2-1 win over the league leaders on Friday, but needed a miracle to haul themselves out of a dire situation caused by financial problems. The club remain in administration, although US businessman Chris Kirchner has been named as the preferred bidder ahead of a potential takeover.
“I want to rebuild this club. But the takeover has to happen. If it doesn’t, I’m really unsure of my future and the club’s future. This takeover has to happen quick,” said Rooney.
Derby would be comfortably in mid-table without the points deduction for entering administration and breaching financial sustainability rules in previous seasons. Luke Amos’ late goal secured a vital three points for QPR’s bid to climb into the playoff places and left Derby 10 points off safety with just three games to play.
“I am disappointed, sad, angry, upset, but ultimately proud of the players, staff and fans, who have been excellent,” added the former Manchester United and England captain.
“We know we’d be safe without the penalties we’ve had. This is where we’ve been left by the previous owner and we’ve been trying to pick up the pieces from that and trying to pull off something really special. We’ve got close and haven’t managed to do it.” Peterbrough stayed alive with a 2-0 win at bottom-of-the-table Barnsley, but are seven points adrift of Reading.
The Royals produced a remarkable fightback in the game of the day as eight goals were shared with Swansea with Tom McIntyre snatching a point deep into stoppage time.
At the other end of the table, Bournemouth have a four-point cushion over third-placed Huddersfield and two games in hand after a convincing 3-0 win at Coventry. Dominic Solanke struck twice after Jamal Lowe had opened the scoring to move Scott Parker’s men to the brink of promotion. Nottingham Forest ensured Fulham, who are in action on Tuesday at home to Preston, had to wait at least another day to seal promotion with a 4-0 win over 10-man West Brom. Huddersfield all but secured their place in the playoffs as goals from Naby Sarr and Jordan Rhodes earned a 2-0 win at Middlesbrough.
Fourth-placed Luton are also in contention for a third promotion in five years as they won 1-0 at Cardiff. Sheffield United remain in the final playoff spot after a 1-1 draw at Bristol City, but are now just one point clear of Millwall, who were 2-1 winners over Hull.