Football

Rams to be unchanged

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Boss Nigel Clough expects to name an unchanged squad for Derby`s home game against Championship high-flyers West Brom.

On-loan defender Fredrik Stoor was injured in the challenge that saw Reading striker Shane Long sent off last week but the Swede has trained and is fit.

"It should pretty much be the same 18," said Clough. "Shaun Barker still has a problem with his thigh and hasn`t trained this week. It`s a small tear and, because of the number of games, it hasn`t had time to heal.

"He`s at the stage where he can play without doing too much training in between but, because we are playing well at the minute, we will try to get along without him for as long as we can.

"Chris Porter is back in training with the rest of the lads but, because of the length of time he`s been out, he`s a bit behind in other ways and will need a little bit more time to get up to speed, while we have to be absolutely certain with Steve Davies and Kris Commons because of the amount of times they have broken down in the last few months."

Porter (hip), Davies and Commons (both hamstring), along with Paul Connolly (hip) are pencilled in to play for the reserves next week.

West Brom travel to Pride Park with almost a full complement of players as they look to stretch the gap between themselves and third place in the Championship.

Midfielder Robert Koren misses out as he starts his recovery from a hernia operation, although he should be back training again in three weeks. Whether the Slovenia international is able to play any part in the hectic festive period remains to be seen.

Left-back Joe Mattock is already back in training after missing last weekend's victory at Sheffield Wednesday with a foot injury and will now challenge Marek Cech to regain his place in Roberto Di Matteo's starting XI, although Cech is favourite to continue having done well.

Winger Jerome Thomas is also okay having shaken off a back problem to start at Hillsborough before coming off with a tight hamstring while midfielder Filipe Teixeira (thigh/groin) is also available.

Striker Roman Bednar and defender Shelton Martis shook off flu-like symptoms to take their place among the substitutes against the Owls and they can expect to be on the bench again.

Apart from Koren, long-term absentee Ishmael Miller (knee) has been given the green light to step up his recovery and could be available in late January. There is still no date, however, for James Morrison (heel) and Neil Clement (knee).

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

Topics:
Sunderland
Neil Clement
West Bromwich Albion
Jerome Thomas
Sheffield Wednesday
Reading
James Morrison
Shaun Barker
Football
Roman Bednar
Kris Commons
Championship
Marek Cech
Shelton Martis
Derby County
Robert Koren
Chris Porter
Roberto Di Matteo
Paul Connolly
Steve Davies
Shane Long
Ishmael Miller
Fredrik Stoor
Joe Mattock
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