Derby V Middlesbrough at Pride Park Stadium : Match Preview

30 December 2012 05:31
Derby V Middlesbrough - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Ward out again

Jamie Ward will sit out Derby's first fixture of 2013 against Middlesbrough at Pride Park despite making his long-awaited comeback from injury at the weekend.

Ward was in the Rams squad for the first time against Charlton on Saturday since suffering a hamstring strain in September.

The Northern Ireland forward came off the bench in the 68th minute at The Valley and four minutes later scored the penalty that earned Nigel Clough's side a 1-1 draw.

However, it proved to be just a brief cameo appearance as Ward was himself substituted after 83 minutes as a precautionary measure after complaining of tightness in his hamstring.

Mark O'Brien was only fit enough for the bench after a groin injury forced him off towards the end of the Boxing Day defeat at Burnley so he could start.

Midfielder Craig Bryson has been playing despite a knee problem and he was given the afternoon off in south east London. Clough will decide whether to bring the Scot back into the squad against Boro.

Middlesbrough midfielder Josh McEachran will be assessed.

The Chelsea loanee suffered an ankle injury during the 1-0 win over Blackburn and missed Saturday's 4-2 victory against Blackpool.

George Friend (hamstring) and Emmanuel Ledesma (knee) missed out at the Riverside although Stuart Parnaby, who had a medial ligament injury which the club initially feared may require surgery, came through 69 minutes.

But Seb Hines and Faris Haroun both failed late fitness tests and should be assessed again before kick-off.

Midfielders Julio Arca (toe) and Muzzy Carayol and striker Curtis Main (both knee) are still sidelined.

Boro are just one point off the automatic promotion places and only six points behind leaders Cardiff.

Source: PA