Shaun Barker: Derby County release defender

Shaun Barker
Barker rejected the chance to join Derby's fierce rivals Nottingham Forest when he joined the Rams in 2009

Injury-plagued defender Shaun Barker has been released by Derby County after six years with the Championship side.

The club captain has not played for the first team since dislocating his knee and rupturing ligaments in March 2012.

Barker, 32, returned to action for the club's under-21 side in February, but has not been offered a new contract.

"I've been hoping that I'd get the opportunity to prove I'm capable of playing at this level but unfortunately that's not the case," Barker tweeted.

"I'd like to thank all of those that have supported me throughout my time here and that kept the faith I'd return to playing football again."

In January, Barker described his return to first-team training as "not far off a miracle" but was not able to add to his 105 appearances for the Rams.

He added: "I've been ready to step up to first-team football for a few weeks now and, with a pre-season under my belt, the Championship is my target."

Forward Jamie Ward and defenders Lee Naylor and Zak Whitbread are also set to be released

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