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Photo: Will Hughes back in action for Derby County after seven month injury absence

The midfielder is set for a comeback before the end of the season.

If Derby County are to earn promotion to the Premier League this season it is looking increasingly likely that they will need to do so via the play-offs.

Tipped as many a pundit’s favourites for the Championship title they have struggled for consistency and have also changed manager this season – with Paul Clement sacked earlier in the year.

The club’s push for promotion has not been helped either by the absence of their midfield maestro Will Hughes.

The 20-year-old talent suffered a serious knee injury on the opening day of the season against Bolton Wanderers and has not featured since.

But he has now made a tentative step toward his return – as Derby County were keen to share on their official Twitter account yesterday:

That was Hughes in action during Shaun Barker’s testimonial yesterday, a former Derby team-mate who himself knows a thing or two about serious injury problems, as he steps up his recovery.

Of course this was a friendly affair and Hughes is still a week or two off a return to first-team action with Derby.

But it looks like he might be back before the end of the season.

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