Jamie Ward injury adds to Derby County pain after frustrating loss to Crystal Palace
TOP scorer Jamie Ward suffered another hamstring injury as Derby County slipped to defeat against Crystal Palace.
Ward limped off shortly before half-time as the Rams lost 1-0 to promotion hopefuls Palace at Pride Park Stadium.
A torn hamstring kept the striker out for three months earlier this season and Derby are now sweating on his fitness again.
"Jamie felt his hamstring, and we will get him assessed in the next 24 to 48 hours," said Clough, who felt his side was desperately unlucky to lose to Palace.
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"We deserved something out of the game, more than ever," he said. "I don't think we did anything wrong.
"I know we missed the penalty, that's an obvious one, but Conor Sammon hit the target with it and the keeper pushed the ball against the bar – that's the way our luck is running at the moment.
"The defeat is very hard for the players to take."
The defeat was Derby's third at home in the League this season. Yannick Bolasie's 13th-minute strike proved to be the only goal of the game, while Sammon saw his penalty saved three minutes from the end of normal time.
"Conor is the penalty taker after Jamie Ward," said Clough. "Jamie wasn't on the pitch, so it's Conor's to take.
"He fancied taking it, so you wouldn't stop him."
Clough said Adam Legzdins was not to blame for Palace's goal despite the keeper looking a little hesitant when Bolaise burst clear.
"When the ball ricochets that quickly to their player, it's difficult to react," said Clough. "So he stood his ground and the lad has gone around him and put it in.
"The ball couldn't have rolled in his (Bolasie's) path any better from a tackle 15 to 20 yards away. It landed at his feet. Bizarre and highly unlucky."