Crystal Palace midfield lynchpin Shaun Derry has revealed that Eagles boss Neil Warnock was a deciding factor in him making an emotional return to Selhurst Park, writes Simon Fitzjohn.

Derry, who had been on loan from League One side Leeds since November, had his permanent switch rubberstamped on Monday afternoon.

And the 30-year-old insisted that when Warnock came calling he had little hesitation in signing on the dotted line.

Derry said: "The truth is I am signing as much for Neil Warnock as I am for Crystal Palace.

"At a time when people are questioning my ability he came in and said he believed in me.

"He said he had no doubts about my football ability and hearing that as a player gives you a real lift."

Derry's arrival has seen the club soar from the midst of a relegation battle to pushing for the Premier League promised land.

A 15-game unbeaten run now has Eagles fans dreaming of trips to Old Trafford and the Emirates rather than the likes of Hartlepool and Gillingham.

And Derry admitted the turnaround has even taken him by surprise.

He added: "When I came here two or three months ago it looked like we would be having a tough, sticky season.

"But with the way results have gone recently it's exciting times for the club."

Warnock targeted both Derry and Clint Hill as a way of providing some much-needed experience in the middle of the park.

And Derry, who left Palace for Leeds in February 2005 after making 99 appearances for the club, accepted his role was different this time around.

Derry added: "I definitely feel a responsibility to the younger players.

"Coming here this time rather than as a 24-year-old I feel I have a lot more experience and if I can pass that on to the youngsters then I will.

"There's about five or six quality young players knocking on the door of the first team and that's great for the club."

Derry endured a turbulent time at Leeds, both on and off the pitch as the Yorkshire club dropped out of the Championship and entered administration.

But Derry insisted he beared no grudge to the Elland Road club.

He added: "I look back on my time at Leeds with an immense feeling of pride.

"I do not think people realise how much that club means to people.

"I am not going to rubbish Dennis Wise as I think he's a great manager and I'm sure he will get them promoted.

"It's an unbelievable football club and I was honoured to have pulled on the Leeds shirt and played for them."

Even so, Derry readily admits that he is relishing his time at Palace, and has targeted one last push for the big time.

"Although it was difficult for the family to move, as a football move this is exactly what I wanted.

"To be playing for a club that is aspiring for the Premier League is a dream.

"This is a great chance for me and I will be giving it my all."