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Clough keeping fingers crossed on Hughes

8 October 2012

Derby boss Nigel Clough hopes Will Hughes' knee problem will have settled by the time they return to npower Championship action later this month.

Hughes, who has started the last eight games and has featured in all of Derby's fixtures this season, was replaced at half-time during the goalless home stalemate against Brighton on Saturday.

The 17-year-old midfielder felt the injury following Wednesday's 2-2 draw at Middlesbrough and did not train on Friday ahead of the Seagulls' visit.

"It's just a niggle, an ache at the back of his knee. It could be a growing thing," said Clough following the game. "We've just got to be a bit careful with him and make sure it is right. Hopefully, it will settle in time for the next game. We've got two weeks to get him ready."

The international break means Derby's next match is at home to Blackburn on October 20.

The Rams were without top scorer Jamie Ward and experienced left-back Gareth Roberts against Brighton due to hamstring strains. Ward's injury could force him to miss out against Rovers, but Roberts should be fit for their visit.

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