Derby County boss Wayne Rooney insists that he doesn’t want any of his players talking to Duane Holmes and Richard Keogh ahead of their return to Pride Park tonight.
Derby face Huddersfield Town in the East Midlands this evening, with both sides looking to record a vital three points to claw them away from the Championship relegation zone.
The night will see former Derby players Keogh and Holmes return to Pride Park for the first time since leaving the club.
Keogh was controversially sacked by Derby in October 2019, following an alcohol-related incident involving Tom Lawrence and Mason Bennett, which saw him sustain knee ligament injuries.
Holmes, meanwhile, left Derby last month and secured a return to Huddersfield as the club looked to raise funds.
Both players were popular figures among the dressing room during their time at Pride Park, but Rooney doesn’t want his players reminiscing or having any catch-ups before the game.
Speaking to BBC Derby, he said: “I’m sure for Richard Keogh and Duane Holmes, there’ll be two players coming back who will be focused on their jobs for Huddersfield.
“I’ve said to my players that I don’t want to see anyone speaking to them before the game. If they want to speak and catch up they can do that after the game, but before the game we need to focus on our jobs.
“We have to focus on ourselves and that’s it. After the game, they can talk about what they want. It’s important we keep our attention and focus to ourselves.”
It’s not a surprise to see Rooney make this sort of claim. He wasn’t technically at Derby when Keogh left the club, but he never really seemed to take to Holmes whilst managing him.
It’s a big game for Derby and every point at this stage of the season is so important, so he needs his players to be focused on the job at hand.
He’s played in two of the biggest derbies in English football where you cannot afford to make friends before the game.