Nigel Clough is keen to give young duo a chance for Rams before season ends
NIGEL Clough is keen to give Derby County youngsters Jeff Hendrick and Callum Ball a chance before the season ends.
Both players have impressed in the youth team and the Reserves.
Hendrick is 19-year-old midfielder and a Republic of Ireland youth international.
He has yet to make a senior appearance for the Rams, although he has been an unused substitute.
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Ball, an 18-year-old striker, has appeared twice for the first team as a substitute.
His debut came when he replaced Tomasz Cywka in the final game of last season against Cardiff City and he came on for Dean Moxey in stoppage time during the home draw with Queens Park Rangers in August.
Ball is leading scorer for the youth and Reserve teams.
On Wednesday night, Hendrick netted twice in the Rams' 5-0 Derbyshire Senior Cup final win against Buxton, after Ball had opened the scoring.
While the first team are not yet mathematically safe from relegation in the Championship, they are nine points clear of the bottom three with four games remaining.
If the opportunity presents itself, Clough would like to take a closer look at Hendrick and Ball before the end of the campaign.
"They have progressed and done well this season," said Clough.
"Jeff is a bit older than Bally and we would love to see him in the team for three or four games.
"The plan was to get to a mid-table position so we could do that.
"Unfortunately, that has not worked out but if we can do it in the last few games then we will get him involved.
"We cannot tell until we get him out there.
"But the timing of when you put young players in has to be right for them and the team."
Hendrick said: "It's why we all play football – to get in the first team, so I'm just hoping that I can keep pushing on and doing well.
"I've been playing a lot of games and training with the first team every day and I think my game is getting better.
"It would be lovely to get any minutes on the pitch for the first team.
"But I'm just happy at the moment doing what I'm doing, travelling with the squad, getting the experience and getting involved.
"It's good to see that side of it and if I can get some time on the pitch, even better."
Clough has also said he would like to give Conor Doyle a run in the side.
Doyle has played 13 times this season after signing from youth soccer in America. The 19-year-old forward has made five starts.
"For 19, you have to say the games he has played in this season he has done well," said Clough.