Derby County boss Wayne Rooney has revealed that a hip problem means Colin Kazim-Richards is ‘doubtful’ for the game at Stoke City on Saturday.
The 34-year-old was an underwhelming addition when he signed at the start of the campaign, however he has emphatically silenced any doubters, becoming a hugely influential player for the Rams.
He has particularly shone under the management of Rooney, with Kazim-Richards scoring seven goals in 29 games this season.
However, speaking to The Athletic reporter Ryan Conway, the boss revealed that the forward is a doubt for the game at Stoke, as he explained Kazim-Richards has an issue with his hip, something that has been troubling him for some time.
With the former Fenerbahce man having played through the pain barrier in recent weeks, it suggests it’s not a serious injury.
But, with an international break following the Stoke fixture, he could have a two week break to get fit in time for the home game with Luton in early April.
Martyn Waghorn would be an option to come in for the trip to the Bet365 Stadium if Kazim-Richards misses out, as Lee Gregory is also unavailable against his parent club.
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This is a blow for Derby, as Kazim-Richards is a real leader for this team and has been crucial to the turnaround the side have had under Rooney.
Nevertheless, they need to look after him properly, and if missing the game at Stoke will give him time to recover then it’s the right decision, as there’s no point taking a risk at this stage of the campaign.
If he does miss out, then it’s an opportunity for others to step up, and Rooney will hope they take that chance.
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