Derby County manager Wayne Rooney has suggested that he does not know yet how serious Richard Stearman’s injury is, but he did reveal there is hope Phil Jagielka and Sam Baldock can return after the international break.
The Rams went into their goalless draw with Swansea City on Saturday with their threadbare squad stretched even further by the absence of both Jagielka and Baldock.
The pair have been crucial players for Derby so far this season, but they were unable to recover from their respective recent injury setbacks in time to make it into the squad for the visit of Swansea.
Rooney handed a second successive start in the Championship to Stearman as a result of the injury to Jagielka, while Jack Stretton came into the side to lead the line in the absence of Baldock.
However, Stearman was forced off the field in the 39th minute of the game through injury and Rooney decided in his absence to switch to a back five for the second 45 minutes at halftime.
Speaking to Derbyshire Live following the draw with Swansea, Rooney revealed that Stearman’s condition is yet to be fully assessed at this stage but he suggested he is hopeful that it will not be too serious of an injury blow.
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He said: “Not too sure, next couple of days we will assess him and hopefully it is not too serious. It is too early to say the extent of that injury.”
While on the condition of both Jagielka and Baldock he added: “Jags went out on Thursday and was still feeling it. We looked at him against yesterday [Friday], and Sam, but they weren’t close for this game but I am fully expecting them to be back and available for our next game.”
Losing Stearman through injury during their goalless draw with Swansea was another blow for the Rams with their squad being ever more stretched following another crucial period of Championship football over the last few weeks.
The international break comes at an ideal time for Rooney really to try and get his squad back to full complement as soon as possible. It seems that Krystian Bielik and Colin Kazim-Richards are nearing their returns as well so getting them back and these other three players is going to be a huge boost.
Jagielka and Baldock could both benefit from a spell on the sidelines with them getting a chance to recharge their batteries after a busy opening few months of the season.
The pair are going to be crucial for Derby after the international break so it is key that they return to fitness over the next two weeks and then look to maintain their performances levels when the campaign gets back underway.