Thorne returned to training today after picking up a horrific knee injury and he clearly cannot wait to get back into competitive action.
McClaren, though, is far more cautious about putting him back into the line-up and denied the former West Bromwich Albion youngster his wish.
"He would play Saturday if he could," the Derby boss laughed. "He asked me if he could go on the bench and I said ‘yeah, yeah but only in a coach's uniform.'
"He will work hard and that’s all he has done since he got the injury. His professionalism has been magnificent and that’s possibly the reason why he is where he is in terms of his recovery.
“He is ahead of schedule and it is great to see him back out there with us."
Derby have coped admirably without Thorne, climbing into second place in the Championship table, but his impending return will be a major boost for the side nevertheless.
Blessed with power and technical ability, he was set to become one of the Rams' key players this season, with his ability to dictate the tempo of matches from the centre of the pitch.
Nottingham Forest will certainly be relieved that he isn't back in time to face them, though their challenge of beating their neighbors still gives the Reds a mountain to climb.
Nottingham Forest have won just two of their last 20 matches and will need a much-improved performance if they are to take anything back from the iPro this weekend.