Ward eyes Rams return
Jamie Ward could return to Derby's starting line-up when east midlands rivals Nottingham Forest visit Pride Park.
Ward has been struggling with a hamstring problem since limping out of the reverse fixture against Forest at the City Ground on September 30.
After playing an hour in a reserve-team fixture, the diminutive forward came on as a substitute for the injured Will Hughes just before half-time in the defeat to Brighton last weekend.
Rams boss Nigel Clough said: "He's very close (to starting a game). If he continues to train this week then we'll definitely consider it."
Clough expects Hughes to be fit after a back injury forced the teenage midfielder off at the Amex Stadium.
The former Forest forward also hinted this week that he is tempted to bring Craig Bryson back into the team for the Saturday lunchtime clash.
Bryson has missed the last four matches with a knee injury and Clough believes the Scot needs a little more time to fully recover.
However, due to the importance of the fixture - and Bryson's importance to his team - the Rams boss is considering rushing the 26-year-old back.
"He certainly couldn't have played at Brighton," said Clough. "Ideally he could do with a bit longer but we miss him when he doesn't play. We'll see if we can get him out there."
Nottingham Forest have captain Danny Collins available.
Collins was absent through suspension as Alex McLeish got his first win as manager last weekend with a 2-1 win over Peterborough at the City Ground.
The 32-year-old, sent off in the surprise FA Cup defeat at home to Oldham, is expected to go straight back into the team and partner Elliott Ward at centre-half.
McLeish will check on the fitness of striker Dexter Blackstock, who sat out the Posh game after suffering slight knock in training.
The Scot will again be without midfielder Andy Reid and on-loan defender Daniel Ayala (both hamstring) for the Saturday lunchtime kick-off at Pride Park, while Adlene Guedioura is away on African Cup of Nations duty with Algeria.