Will Hughes' back injury is worry for Derby County
WILL Hughes' back injury is a worry for Derby County ahead of the clash with neighbours Nottingham Forest.
The 17-year-old midfielder missed training last week with a sore back and he took a hefty knock during Saturday's 2-1 defeat at Brighton.
He stayed down after the challenge from Brighton's Dean Hammond and received treatment before being helped off the pitch.
Clearly in pain, he waited on the touchline to come back on but he was unable to continue and was replaced by Jamie Ward in the final minute of the first half.
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Nigel Clough is keeping his fingers crossed that Hughes' injury settles in the next few days but added: "He is extremely uncomfortable – it's very sore.
"He got a knee in the back from an aerial challenge – that was another one (foul) the referee missed.
"Will doesn't usually stay down. He gets whacks and gets straight back up again, so when he does stay down, you get a little bit concerned about him."
Hughes has featured in all of Derby's 29 matches this season and he has started all but one.
He is currently on a run of 26 consecutive starts and has become a key member of the team.
Speculation continues to surround his future at Derby with a number of big clubs in the Premier League monitoring his progress.
But the Rams have received no firm interest.
"Nobody has come in for him so far," said Clough. "We haven't had any offers for anybody.
"Will wasn't actually very good against Brighton compared to how he has been playing.
"He'd be the first to admit he was a little bit off it but, for a 17-year-old, he is more than a prospect now. He's a very, very good player."
Craig Bryson was absent for a fourth game at the weekend due to a knee injury and the midfielder remains a doubt for the Forest fixture.
"He certainly couldn't have played at Brighton," said Clough.
"He's got a chance for the weekend but, ideally, it's a two or three-week job.
"We'll get him moving towards the middle of this week and see if his knee has settled down."