Derby County boss Steve McClaren is said to be optimistic over the return of key duo Chris Martin and George Thorne in time for their trip to Norwich City a week on Saturday, as he explained to the club's video channel.
The Rams, who have been without Martin since the 10th February and Thorne since 24th February, have lost their last two games in the Championship and surrendered top spot to Middlesbrough after initially building a two point cushion with 15 games to go.
Aiming to bounce back against Birmingham at home on Saturday, the Derby boss admitted he would still be without Martin and Thorne but said he was optimistic at seeing them return in time for the Norwich game.
‘’Fingers crossed we should have George Thorne and Chris Martin Back for the game against Norwich, that’s the aim’’ McClaren told Rams Player.
‘’They are out on the grass doing a bit of functional work at the moment. We take one day at a time and the players that are out are being positive around the place. We need everybody fit for the games after the international break, that’s when the pressure is coming.’’
McClaren’s men will be hoping they can head into the international break at the summit of the Championship, but know they have four extremely hard fixtures standing in their way before they take a breather.
As mentioned, the East Midlands side will host Birmingham on Saturday before travelling to Norwich seven days later. The following Tuesday they’re involved in another promotion crunch match at home to Middlesbrough and finish the month away at Wolves on 20th March.
If Thorne and Martin do get up to full-fitness in time for the Norwich and Middlesbrough game then it will allow Rams fans to head into the two games full of confidence.
Six points from them two games in particular will be huge if McClaren’s men are to lift the title on the 2nd May when they finish their season at home to Reading.