Derby County will be looking to continue their recent return to form on Boxing Day, when they host Preston North End at Pride Park.
Wayne Rooney’s side are unbeaten in their last seven league games, although they have won just two of those games, including a 2-0 win at home to Swansea last time out, and they will be looking to build on that here.
Now it seems as though the Rams could be handed a boost with regards to the availability of two senior players ahead of that clash with the Lancashire club.
Having been absent from that victory over Swansea last time out with an ankle problem suffered in a draw with Stoke in the match before, Tom Lawrence could be in contention to make his return on Boxing Day.
Speaking about the attacker ahead of the clash with Preston, Rooney revealed that although the attacker remains “touch and go” in terms of his availability, Lawrence is part of his plans for the game, provided he responds well to a return to training.
Like Lawrence, Jordon Ibe missed out on the win over Swansea, after he picked up a strain while making his Derby debut against Stoke.
But having played 74 minutes in Derby’s Under 23s 5-3 defeat to Blackburn on Monday night, impressing with his performance, Ibe is now fit and available to feature against Preston, with Rooney admitting he has a decision to make about whether or not to include him in his squad for the game.
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Elsewhere, Jack Marriott remains absent after suffering a calf injury while on loan at Sheffield Wednesday back in early November.
Rooney has now revealed that the striker has returned to training and will look to build up his fitness over the next few weeks, with a decision to be made on whether or not he returns to Hillsborough for the second half of the season very soon.
Longer term, it was confirmed earlier this week that centre back Curtis Davies underwent surgery on a Achilles tendon injury on Monday, and is now set for an extended spell on the sidelines as he undergoes his recovery, which is expected to keep him out of action for the remainder of the season.
Following that recent run of form, Derby go into their Boxing Day game knowing that due to the postponement of Rotherham’s clash with Middlesbrough, victory over Alex Neil’s side will lift them out of the Championship relegation zone.