Date: 23rd June 2010 at 8:18pm
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Nigel Clough says he will treat Shaun Barker with care when pre-season training gets underway to avoid a repeat of the injury problems this time last year that disrupted the defenders start to the season. After having an operation to clean up his knee at the end of last season Barker returned to Moor Farm yesterday, earlier than most, to step up his rehabilitation and prepare for the new season. However, Clough told the Derby Evening Telegraph:

‘We’ll have to be a bit careful with Shaun in pre-season; I don’t think he’ll be able to join in with absolutely everything on the first day. He just needs to do enough to make sure he is fit and ready for the first match of the season.”

Barker was eventually named the supporters` player of the season after overcoming his initial difficulties and he has promised there is more to come in terms of his form as he now feels fully settled at Pride Park. The defender did admit that he has a little way to go in terms of fitness and being able to join in full training when the squad returns adding:

‘The running that the lads will be doing when they come back will probably be a bit soon for me but, fingers crossed, in a week or so, I’ll be flying and joining in with the rest of the squad. I’m feeling fine now and, assuming there are no stumbling blocks, I should be fit and ready to go for the first game of pre-season.’