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Derby County captain Richard Keogh on course for return

10 December 2014

Derby County captain Richard Keogh is expected to return to the squad that travels to Middlesbrough at the weekend.

However, Rams' first-team coach Paul Simpson has warned the central defender that he faces a tough battle to regain his place in the starting line-up.

Keogh has trained this week after missing the  3-0 victory over Brighton with a hamstring strain he suffered in the defeat at Leeds the previous Saturday.

Ryan Shotton and Jake Buxton formed the centre-back pairing against the Seagulls and Keogh's return sees three players  vying for two positions at the heart of the back four against Boro at the Riverside.

"Richard did some light work towards the end of last week and he trained Monday and Tuesday and came through unscathed," Simpson told local reporters.

"We will keep building up his training towards the weekend and then the manager has a lovely headache.  Does he change a back four that kept a clean sheet?

"It is a great position to be in and that is up to Steve McClaren to decide on that one.  With the quality of player we have at the club, I think those decisions are difficult.

"We will see what is decided.  Richard Keogh is a big part of how we play and how we have played but at the weekend I thought the back four did very well.

"They played out from the back when they had to, they defended when they had to and in that second 45 minutes we didn't allow Brighton any opportunities.

"That is testament to the way the team defended and, in particular, the back four and the keeper."

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