Wayne Rooney makes admission about key Derby County player following surprise Preston involvement

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© Provided by Football League World Championship – Derby County v Huddersfield Town

Derby County manager Wayne Rooney has admitted that Colin Kazim-Richards has still has not trained with the Rams first-team squad since his injury despite returning to action in their draw at Preston.

Kazim-Richards has been a major absentee for the Rams ever since he suffered an Achilles tendon injury during the 2-1 defeat at Peterborough United back in August.

Rooney has had to rely on Sam Baldock and Jack Stretton to lead the line for Derby during most of Kazim-Richards’ absence.

The Rams have been lacking a goalscorer in the final third to finish off some of the chances they have created.

However, against Preston, Kazim-Richards was named on the bench for the first time since his injury in what was a move that came somewhat out of the blue. The experienced forward was even handed 13 minutes of action from the bench on his return.

Speaking to Derbyshire Live following the draw at Preston, Rooney confessed that Kazim-Richards still lacks fitness and has not trained with the Rams as of yet. He did add though that he was deemed fit enough by the club’s physios to return to the squad.

He said: “Until Friday morning he was not in my plans for this game.

“When we arrived at the training ground he had been in early and I spoke to the physios and fitness coaches and they said he had worked really well.

“So I went to the doctor and the physio, and to Colin, and said can you give me 10 to 15 minutes. They said from an injury point of view it is fine, fitness-wise it won’t be there so that is the reason I only brought him on towards the end.

“I am pleased to have Colin back with us. He still needs to work on is fitness, of course. He hasn’t trained with us yet, actually, so we will work on that. The next couple of games there will be cameo roles for him coming on towards the end.”

The verdict

It shows just how important Kazim-Richards is to this Derby squad that they risked bringing him off the bench at Preston despite him having not yet trained with the squad since he returned to fitness following his Achilles tendon injury.

The forward’s return to action has come sooner than expected and that is a huge boost for Derby because although Baldock has been leading the line well on his own at times, he does not offer the same threat in front of goal.

It will be vital that Derby do not ask too much of Kazim-Richards too soon and risk him suffering a complication with his injury as a result.

However, you would expect Rooney to be cautious with him knowing how important he is to his side and with question marks over Baldock’s involvement moving forward.


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