Report: Derby duo closing on injury returns

Steve McClaren

George Thorne could return to Derby County’s squad for the FA Cup tie against Reading, while Johnny Russell could begin full training at the end of next week.

Derby County manager Steve McClaren had positive news for supporters after revealing to the Derby Telegraph that key duo Johnny Russell and George Thorne are closing in on returns.

Thorne, 22, could make his first appearance for the Rams since making the £2 million move from West Brom in the summer as the midfielder continues his rehabilitation of the ACL injury he suffered in the pre-season friendly with Russian club Zenit Saint Petersburg.

The ex-England Under-21 midfielder played a huge part in Derby’s strong end to last season and after long, sometimes messy, negotiations between the East and West Midlands clubs in the summer, the deal was struck to see him become a Ram on a permanent basis. Nevertheless, just days after signing permanently, the midfielder suffered the second ACL injury of his career.

The talented defensive midfielder has appeared twice for the Under-21 side since returning to full training following his injury and is now said to be in contention for the game on the 14th February.

Elsewhere, Derby are expecting Johnny Russell to return well ahead of time after the former England boss revealed he could be in training as early as next week.

“He could be training by the end of next week, which would be great news,” said McClaren in the Derby Telegraph.

The Scotland international had injured himself after coming on as a second half substitution against Chesterfield in the FA Cup and was initially reported by Sky Sports to be ruled out for up to six weeks with a hamstring injury.

Following the devastating news over one of their star players, McClaren moved quickly in the transfer market to land both Tom Ince and Jesse Lingard to cover the losses of the former Dundee United attacker and Jordon Ibe.

However, if Russell can come back earlier than expected, it would be a huge boost for the East Midland’s side as they look to boost their bid for promotion and Championship silverware with 18 games remaining.

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