After narrowly avoiding relegation to League One last season, Derby County have managed to make a relatively encouraging start to the current term under the guidance of manager Wayne Rooney.
Despite the fact that the Rams have only managed to bolster their squad by drafting in free-agents on short-term deals this summer, they currently find themselves in 14th place in the second-tier standings.
Having amassed five points from their first four league games, Derby will now be looking to book their place in the third round of the League Cup this evening when they head to Bramall Lane to face Sheffield United.
The Rams will fancy their chances of progressing in this competition as they are set to face a Blades side who have only won once in all competitions this month.
Whereas the likes of Graeme Shinnie, Ravel Morrison and Sam Baldock could all feature for Derby tonight, Jason Knight will be forced to watch on from the sidelines.
The midfielder was inadvertently injured by Rooney in training last month.
Originally scheduled to be out for up to 12 weeks as a result of the issue with his ankle, it has now been revealed that Knight is making good progress in terms of his recovery.
Making reference to the 20-year-old, Rooney has admitted that an updated time-scale regarding Knight’s return to action will become clearer later this week.
Speaking to the Derby Telegraph about the Republic of Ireland international, Rooney said: “His rehab is going well, he is improving every day.
“His attitude to the training he has been doing has been superb.
“The physios are delighted with him.
“We are looking after the international break to see where he is at.
“He has missed almost a full pre-season.
“He is a fit guy anyway, but he will still need the football training to get back up to speed.
“He is still in the gym, gradually putting a bit more weight on it (the ankle).
“We will have a better idea towards the end of this week where he is at and then we can put a timescale on it from there.
“He will be a big player for us.”
GIVEMESPORT’s Joshua Cole says…
When you consider that Knight possesses an abundance of talent, he could potentially help Derby reach new heights when he is fit enough to feature in the Championship for his side.
Although the midfielder only managed to average a WhoScored match rating of 6.56 in the second-tier last season, he did produce impressive displays against Birmingham City and Millwall as he scored in both of these fixtures.
Providing that Knight doesn’t suffer any setbacks in his recovery, it will be intriguing to see when he will return to action as Rooney has seemingly touted September as a target date.
Whereas Rooney will be tempted to start the midfielder as soon as possible, he may find it more beneficial to ease the midfielder back into action as doing so will minimise the risk of another injury.
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