Paul Warne has turned things around at Derby County following a difficult start to the season. The Rams are on course to get a shot at making an appearance at Wembley at the very least, but will be well aware of just how many games are left to play in League One before they can potentially realise their dreaming of gaining a place back in the Championship.
As we approach the busy festive period, the last thing that Warne would have wanted is a number of injury blows. Yet, as we enter December, the Derby manager is set to be without one star player for an enxtended period.
Derby County injury news
The international break came at a disappointing time for Derby, who entered the break with just one loss in five games in all competitions. From Warne’s perspective, his side’s momentum had every chance of coming to an end without league action. Worse yet, he would have been aware of the dangers of those on international break picking up long-term injuries. And that’s exactly what happened to one particular Derby star to deal the Rams a major blow ahead of an action-packed period of football.
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Warne confirmed that Conor Washington will miss the next three months after picking up ankle ligament damage, which requires surgery. Warne told BBC Radio Derby: It’s a massive blow. Unfortunately he’s damaged two of his three ligaments, so he is going to need an op and be out for 12 weeks after the op’s taken place, and he hasn’t had it yet. He’s not in a good place, obviously.
“We are not going to boohoo about it – it’s just disappointing. Every striker has a different attribute and Wash’s is one where he could stretch the play for us and give us a different dimension. And he was starting to get, not his football mojo back, I don’t mean it like that, but his form back possibly and think the fans started to see the good side of Wash, so it’s a big blow.”
What games will Washington miss?
Out for up to three months, Washington is likely to miss 17 of Derby’s 29 remaining games in League One this season in what is clearly a real hit to their promotion chances. Washington’s stats, which show that he has been involved in five goals this season in all competitions, suggest that the Rams will need to rely on the likes of James Collins for goals from here, as they look to set themselves up for play-off glory come their forward’s return.
Out of the most important games. Washington will miss fixtures against the likes of Lincoln City, Oxford United, Peterborough, Stevenage and Barnsley, who are all vying for a place in the second tier. Given that Derby are just two points inside the play-off spots, too, they can ill-afford more slip-ups in the coming months.
In an ideal world, Washington will return with his side on course for promotion, giving him every opportunity to become a returning hero.