WAYNE ROONEY is ready to battle on as Derby boss despite already looking doomed to relegation.
The Rams administrators agreed to take a nine-point penalty from the EFL for Financial Fair Play offences, putting their total to -3 in the Championship.
Derby have also dropped their appeal against a 12-point hit for going into administration, leaving them with a total loss of 21, with two further three-point punishments still hanging over their heads.
One would be for the late payment of wages and the other for any further breach of FFP rules.
Rooney’s under-strength squad have managed 18 points from 17 games, but are now 18 points from safety.
Rooney, 36, was taking training when the punishment was announced Wednesday, but is expected to tough it out.
Bidder Chris Kirchner is trying to complete a deal to takeover the Rams, while others have shown an interest.
But administrators still have major hurdles to cross, the first being agreeing a deal with HMRC over a tax bill that spiralled to over £25million.
Middlesbrough and Wycombe have lodged compensation claims and peace talks are planned. Derby think they can win the cases, but it is uncertain.
Boro owner Steve Gibson’s claim for around £45m is still to be addressed.
They feel Derby’s financial irregularities helped deny them a play-off place in 2019 after the Rams pipped them to the top six by just one point.
Wycombe say they were relegated because a previous points penalty was not imposed and want around £6m.
Any takeover deal also needs an agreement with former owner Mel Morris to sell the stadium. He is looking for around £20m but that is also subject to negotiation.
Derby’s doom is a massive scar on the EFL’s flagship division.
For the third season running, a club is likely to go down because of penalties.
Wigan and Sheffield Wednesday both suffered the same fate when they had won enough points on the pitch.
Worse still, it makes a mockery of the final 29 games of Derby’s season.