Steve McClaren is being interviewed about a possible return to Derby County, according to Sky sources.

The former Derby manager was sacked in May last year, after the club failed to reach the Championship playoffs, despite spending most of the season in the top six.

But he is now one of the front-runners for what would be a controversial return. Many Derby fans still blame McClaren for the team’s late failure to win promotion, saying his refusal to rule out a move to Newcastle was a distraction.

McClaren went on to become Newcastle’s head coach, three weeks after leaving Derby. His reign at the Magpies lasted less than a year – he was sacked in March this year.

McClaren spent much of his playing career at Derby, and after a brief coaching spell at Oxford United he moved back to County to work under Rams boss Jim Smith in 1995.

He then moved to Manchester United and worked under Sir Alex Ferguson, and simultaneously was No 2 to England boss Sven Goran Eriksson.

His first managerial job was at Middlesbrough, where he won the League Cup and got them to the Europa League final.

He then moved to the Netherlands and won the Eredivisie with FC Twente, but ill-fated spells with Wolfsburg, Nottingham Forest and Twente again followed, before he took the Derby job in September 2013.

Derby striker Darren Bent told Sky Sports News HQ that the return of McClaren would be welcomed by the players – but a big surprise.

The players will be a bit baffled….because we didn’t see that coming, he said. From what we heard when he left it was left on quite bad terms but he was a fantastic manager.

Anyone who watched us in that period would say we played some of the best football we had played in a long, long time so from a footballing point of view it would make sense.

But at the same time Chris Powell has been doing a fantastic job as well and if McClaren gets the job we’d like to hope that Chris stays and helps him out as well. If he doesn’t and Chris gets it then we will be equally as happy.

(c) Sky News 2016: Derby interview McClaren about return to Rams