Derby County manager Wayne Rooney has revealed that the Rams do not know yet what injury Tom Lawrence was suffering from against Nottingham Forest, but suggested Sam Baldock will return in their next game.
The Rams headed into the game aiming to pick up all three points and pile the pressure even more on Nottingham Forest after they lost their opening four league matches.
However, Derby had to contend without Baldock with the forward missing the game through injury and leaving the Rams without a traditional center-forward in their starting line-up.
Lawrence was deployed by Rooney as something of a false number nine and the Wales international managed to make an impact in that role with him opening the scoring inside the opening 11 minutes.
Without a normal number nine though Derby were unable to take advantage of some of the other chances they created in and around Nottingham Forest’s box as the game progressed. In the end, they were pegged back late on and had to settle for a point.
Derby were dealt a blow in the 67th minute of the game when Lawrence was forced off with an injury. With them already without Colin Kazim-Richards for a prolonged period through injury the Rams would have been fearing the worst.
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Speaking to Derbyshire Live after the Rams’ draw with Forest, Rooney revealed that they do not yet know what issue Lawrence was struggling with. Although he suggested that Baldock will be able to return to action from a hamstring issue against Birmingham City.
He said: “I don’t know whether it is his (Lawrence) groin, I think it looked more like his calf. I’m not sure but credit to him for getting through the minutes he did and getting his goal.
“We had Tom Lawrence and Ravel Morrison as two false number nines, and Kamil (Jozwiak) and Sibs (Louie Sibley) trying to pin their back four. I thought it worked quite well first half but again it is us having to adapt to what we have got, obviously with Colin and Sam being injured.
“Sam will be fine for the next game, he had a tweak on his hamstring.”
It would have been a major blow for Derby if they were to lose Baldock for a prolonged period considering that Kazim-Richards has been ruled out of action for the next few months at least.
However, the Rams will now know that the forward should be able to return to action by the time they next play against Birmingham City. That will be vital because playing without a recognised number nine is not an ideal situation for the Rams and potentially cost them against Forest when they were on top.
Lawrence has been doing a very good job this season for the Rams and he managed to deliver a strong performance for most of the 67 minutes that he was on the field.
Therefore, it would have been a real concern to see him leave the field through injury against Nottingham Forest. The Rams will hope that the Wales international can return to action next time out against Birmingham City as well as Baldock.