Derby County news: Rooney issues update on 34-year-old's fitness ahead of Stoke showdown


Derby County will be looking to back up their impressive second-half display against Brentford earlier this week when they head to the Bet365 Stadium on Saturday to face Stoke City in the Championship.

Despite conceding two early goals in their clash with the Bees, strikes from Lee Gregory and Louie Sibley sealed a point for the Rams at Pride Park.

Currently eight points clear of the relegation zone in the Championship, Derby could extend this particular gap if they better Rotherham United's result on Saturday.

Whilst the likes of Matt Clarke, Louie Watson and Nathan Byrne are all likely to feature against Stoke, Colin Kazim-Richards may miss the fixture.

Substituted by Derby in the closing stages of their draw against Brentford, the forward is now facing a race to be fit for the club's showdown with the Potters due to injury.

Speaking to the Derby Telegraph about the extent of Kazim-Richards' issue, Rams manager Wayne Rooney said: "I am not sure, we will see how he is.

"Hopefully he is okay for Saturday."

Rooney later added: "It is a knock, I think it is nothing more than that and hopefully he will be fine."

Since joining the Rams last October, Kazim-Richards has been directly involved in nine goals in 29 league appearances.

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When you consider just how effective Kazim-Richards has been for Derby during the current campaign, it will be a blow if he is not able to play against Stoke.

As well as averaging the sixth-highest WhoScored match rating at Pride Park (6.75), the forward has netted the most goals for the club in the Championship and has won 3.7 aerial duels per game.

If Kazim-Richards isn't fit enough to feature on Saturday, it will be intriguing to see who Rooney opts to draft in as a replacement for the 34-year-old.

Unable to call upon Gregory due to the fact that he is currently on loan at Derby from Stoke and thus is ineligible for this fixture, the Rams boss may have to turn to Martyn Waghorn for inspiration.

The 31-year-old striker, whose contract at Derby is set to expire in June, has netted three goals in 27 Championship appearances this season.

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