Derby County have hit a bad run of form going into the March international break, with Wayne Rooney not being able to find a win in the last seven games.
It will be new ground for Rooney who oversaw a turn-around in form when he was first appointed, but the Rams are still in a relegation battle and will need more wins to stay in the Championship – especially with Rotherham having four games in hand.
And despite a host of new faces arriving on loan at the end of the January transfer window, the Rams have struggled with injuries all season.
Rooney has regularly had to put young players on the bench and it was no different against Stoke yesterday, with Louie Watson and Cameron Cresswell both on the bench for the 1-0 loss.
Curtis Davies and Krystian Bielik are both long-term issues and neither will make it back before the end of the season, although Davies is making good progress following achilles surgery in December, according to Liam Rosenior.
Former Arsenal youngster Bielik re-ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) at the end of January and is facing the rest of 2021 on the sidelines.
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In more recent injury news, Colin Kazim-Richards required injections to play in the defeat to Stoke yesterday and he was withdrawn after 63 minutes in favour of Tom Lawrence, which suggests that the pain relief didn’t work in its entirety.
The striker now has two weeks to rest up but you have to wonder if it was even worth playing him at the Bet365 Stadium, but then again the Rams were depleted of striking options for the match with Lee Gregory ineligible for the match.
Jordon Ibe is a player who seems to have fallen off the face of the earth having signed earlier in the season, with the winger having just one cameo appearance back in December.
Ibe hasn’t made a matchday squad since Boxing Day and Wayne Rooney revealed a few days ago that he’s had a hamstring problem, and it is likely that he will get some minutes in the under-23 squad before he returns to the first team.