Derby County manager Phillip Cocu has given the reason behind Tom Huddlestone’s exclusion from the Rams’ squad on Saturday.
Cocu’s side beat Millwall 3-2 at The Den yesterday, as they only enhanced their chances of finishing inside the Championship’s top six.
One man who didn’t make the squad for the trip to London was experienced midfielder Huddlestone who hasn’t yet made an appearance since picking up a calf injury back in January.
The 33-year-old had been training with the Rams squad over the past couple of weeks and was expected to be named in the Derby squad for the clash with Millwall.
Cocu has suggested that he needs to do some more work before returning to the first-team squad in the future.
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Speaking to Derbyshire Live, Cocu said: “He is OK, I think he needs some more work because he was out for a long time.
“To rehabilitate and get back in the team performances is not easy. He is fit and training with the team, but we just decided to leave him out of this game.”
It was surprising to see Huddlestone not even names as one of the substitutes considering that he’d been declared fit and has been training in recent weeks.
Obviously, the Derby team are flying so it’s unlikely that he’d get a starting berth in the team but his experience off the bench could be pivotal over the next couple of weeks as Derby hunt down a play-off spot.
If Derby can carry on this good run of form then Cocu will be delighted that he may well have a fully fit squad to pick from if the play-offs come into the main picture.