Needham progressed through the Academy system at Derbyshire to earn a contract for the 2006 season.
A former England Under-19 international, he is predominantly an off-spinner but is also capable of useful runs in the lower-middle order.
He played an increasing role in Derbyshire's one-day campaign in 2007, when he was rewarded for his continued progression with a new two-year deal, keeping him at the County Ground until the end of the 2009 season.
He featured more prominently in four-day cricket in 2008 - he made seven championship appearances - and ended the season with career-best figures of 6-59 in the defeat by Leicestershire.
Needham finished second in the county averages for his haul of 16 wickets at 25 apiece from seven games, while averaging just shy of 20 with the bat.
In 2009 he played only a bit part role in Division Two of the LV= County Championship for Derbyshire, featuring in five game and taking seven wickets at an average of 50.
He was similarly used in one-day cricket, returning a series of undistinguished figures in the Friends Provident Trophy, Twenty20 Cup and NatWest Pro40.