Key man Craig Bryson's race to be ready for Derby County's home clash against Leeds United this weekend
CRAIG Bryson and Gareth Roberts face a race against time to be fit for Derby County's home clash against Leeds United this weekend.
Both missed Saturday's 4-1 defeat by Leicester City at the King Power Stadium.
Bryson has a knee injury, which he suffered in the draw with Cardiff City, and Roberts limped off in the same game with a calf problem.
It was only the second game Bryson has missed this season. The Scottish midfielder sat out the fixture at Peterborough in October, which ended in a 3-0 defeat.
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Derby's medical team will work on Bryson this week.
"He will do everything he can and we will do everything we can to get him right for Leeds," said manager Nigel Clough.
"We miss him when he doesn't play. We miss his energy, his closing down and him getting a tackle in.
"He has missed two games, against Leicester and Peterborough, and we have lost them both by a three-goal margin."
Roberts is rated "touch and go" to face Leeds.
The 34-year-old's place at left-back against Leicester was filled by James O'Connor,
"We missed Craig Bryson but I thought we missed Gareth Roberts more," said Clough.
"Jimmy O'Connor struggled at times at left-back.
"Right-back or centre-half is Jimmy's position, so we are asking him to play out of position.
"We also have Kieron Freeman and it was important to give him 15 minutes. You never know, he might play against Leeds."
Freeman replaced O'Connor after 77 minutes for his third appearance as a substitute in the first team. The 20-year-old has yet to start.
Jamie Ward has had an injection to help his hamstring problem settle.
The striker has been sidelined since the end of September and missed 11 matches.
"We'll see how the hamstring settles following the injection," said Clough.
"It's just time and patience with Jamie. His chances of being ready for Saturday? It depends how the hamstring settles down this week."