Mark O'Brien returns to action for the Rams Under-21s
DEFENDER Mark O'Brien has handed Derby County a boost by returning to action after injury.
The 19-year-old played for an hour in yesterday's 4-2 victory over Crewe Alexandra in the Under-21 League.
He missed the second half of last season following surgery to repair cruciate ligament damage and had been sidelined this season with some soreness and swelling in the same knee.
Rams manager Nigel Clough is delighted to see O'Brien back on the pitch.
"It's great and also an important step for him," said Clough. "He had an hour and we will build up his fitness slowly.
"It was lovely to see him competing as he does. He actually smashed one of his own players, Michael Hoganson, in one challenge. You know Mark is not too far away when he is doing that!
"He has had a frustrating time, it has been stop-start for him again. We just want him to have a good run now and that is why it's worth taking our time with him."
Derby's next under-21 fixture is away to Birmingham City on October 16.
U21s report: Page 39