By Pete O'Rourke, Transfer Correspondent

12th Dec, 2019 | 4:49pm

Exclusive: Derby County set sights on EFL 23-yr-old to replace Richard Keogh

Derby County are among several teams eyeing a January move for Oxford United defender Rob Dickie, Football Insider understands.

The 23-year-old centre-back has regularly featured for Oxford this season and racked up 23 appearances across all competitions.

A Derby source has told Football Insider the club are in the market for a new centre-back in the January transfer window and they have set their sights on Dickie as a replacement for the sacked Richard Keogh.

The former Reading centre-back is believed to have caught Derby’s eye due to a number of impressive performances in central defence for Karl Robinson’s side, however, they’re not the only club keen.

Scouts from clubs higher up the football pyramid have been flocking to the Kassam Stadium to cast an eye over Dickie this season.

Dickie has been instrumental in the club’s recent fine form helping them go 11 games unbeaten in League One, so Oxford are reluctant to lose Dickie with them battling for promotion this season.

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However, they are bracing themselves for offers for the defender in next month’s transfer window.

Dickie has been with The U’s since January 2018 after joining from Reading and is contracted to stay with the club until 2021.

The accomplished centre-back will have the chance to impress his suitors when Oxford face Manchester City in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals next week.

Dickie is likely to be next in action on Saturday with The U’s set to travel to face a struggling MK Dons side at Stadium MK.

Oxford currently sit seventh in League One with 30 points from their first 18 games of the season, while the Dons are 21st with only 14 points to their name.

In other Derby County news, Football Insider can reveal the club are plotting a fresh January swoop for an attacker who has told friends he wants to quit his current club.