With the hamstring injury to Michael Johnson, Rams boss Billy Davies has not ruled out bringing in a centre-back to strengthen his promotion-chasing side for the remaining seven games of the Championship run-in.
The Rams have been linked to a number of players in the press, and Davies said: “One thing we don`t want is a striker. Losing Howard is a blow but we have enough quality in the squad with Giles Barnes, Jon Macken, Paul Peschisolido, Arturo Lupoli and Craig Fagan to cover his lose.” He also dismissed as ‘nonsense’ reports linking Crystal Palace striker Shefki Kuqi with a move to Derby.
The Rams remaining central defenders are all in yellow card trouble. Darren Moore and Dean Leacock are both on eight yellow cards and Marc Edworthy is on nine. The league has a cut off point for reaching 10 cards, which is the second Sunday in April. Can Davies afford to take a risk with the current players or will he bring back youngster Lewin Nyatanga back from his loan move to Barnsley, or has he a player in mind on a loan deal?
Davies added: “The centre-back area is a concern and we are looking at that
“We have cover. Jay McEveley, Tyrone Mears and Marc Edworthy can all play there but I certainly will, if possible, look to strengthen that area.
“We need to make sure that if anything happens to our centre-backs we have ample cover.”
Davies has also said he will allow one or two players to go out on loan for a month in order to give them match practice and build their fitness.
“We now have a two-week break and players could go out and get some games under their belt,” said Davies.
“After a month they will come back fitter and ready for our last three or four games if we need to put them in.”
The Rams have worked hard to get in the position they are in and Davies will leave no stone unturned to get the players he wants to see the Rams into the Premiership.