Derby County defender James O'Connor to return to action after six-week injury lay-off
DERBY County defender James O'Connor is set to return to action next week following a knee injury.
O'Connor is due to train on Monday and play in the under-21 fixture against Coventry City at Nuneaton Town FC on Tuesday.
He has been sidelined for six weeks and his last appearance was in the FA Cup defeat by Blackburn Rovers on January 26.
O'Connor has been out with strained knee ligaments.
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"It is probably one of the most niggling injuries you can have as a footballer," said manager Nigel Clough.
"Ninety per cent of the problem can be right but then you just catch it on one particular spot and it becomes sore.
"Ankles you can strap up and protect but it is different with knees because of the way you play football. You open up your knee to make passes and making a tackle or being tackled also opens up the knee.
"So it is difficult to say when such an injury has fully repaired
"Jimmy's injury has taken a bit longer than we had hoped but it was a bit worse than we thought."
O'Connor has played centre-back and in both full back positions, and his versatility served Derby well in the first half of the season.
He has made 23 appearances including 15 starts since signing from Doncaster Rovers in the summer.