Derby suffer George Thorne blow during defeat against Ipswich
Derby suffered a worrying blow ahead of next week's Sky Bet Championship play-off semi-final when George Thorne was stretchered off in the 1-0 defeat to Ipswich at the iPro Stadium.
The influential holding midfielder appeared to damage a knee during a Derby attack late in the game which was won by David McGoldrick's first-half penalty.
Derby head coach Darren Wassall had elected to play arguably his strongest team before the two legs against Hull and they almost scored after only 58 seconds.
Johnny Russell played in Craig Bryson on the right and the midfielder's low shot was well saved by visiting goalkeeper Bartosz Bialkowski who managed to push the ball away from any white shirts.
Ipswich responded with McGoldrick working his way across the edge of the box before his shot was charged down before Freddie Sears forced Scott Carson into a save at his near post in the eighth minute.
Cyrus Christie made a powerful run through the middle that was only halted by a sliding tackle on the edge of the area but Ipswich went close when McGoldrick's shot was deflected behind.
Will Hughes rode two tackles before curling a shot wide from 20 yards in the 24th minute before Sears was denied by a Jason Shackell block after Carson spilled a low cross from Liam Feeney.
But Ipswich went ahead in the 34th minute when Richard Keogh took down Teddy Bishop with a lunging challenge and McGoldrick sent Carson the wrong way with the penalty.
Tom Ince brought a diving save out of Bialkowski with a 20-yard free-kick five minutes before the interval but after Keogh was booked for bringing down McGoldrick, Derby's captain was replaced by Jake Buxton at half-time to prevent him getting another yellow card ahead of the play-offs.
Bialkowski made another top save in the 52nd minute when he plunged to his right to keep out a Bryson shot and Russell fired over from a tight angle as Derby pushed Ipswich back.
After Darren Bent replaced Chris Martin, the former England striker flashed a low ball across the face of goal that just evaded Bryson but there was a big worry for Derby when Thorne went down in the Ipswich box.
The midfielder was involved in a block tackle and received lengthy treatment on the pitch before he was carried away on a stretcher, leaving Derby to play out the game with 10 men.
Thorne's injury meant eight minutes of stoppage time were added but Derby could not find an equaliser as their six game unbeaten run came to an end.