Derby County midfielder Max Bird is not ready to return against Plymouth Argyle but could be in contention to face Oxford United this weekend, Paul Warne has said.
Derby County make the long trip to Home Park to face fellow promotion hopefuls Plymouth Argyle on Tuesday night.
The Rams have been fortunate in recent weeks to avoid injury issues despite the busy fixture list, with vice-captain Bird and experienced centre-back James Chester to only to have been cast to the sidelines in recent weeks.
Bird hasn’t played since January 30th since picking up an injury against West Ham in the FA Cup, and he’ll remain absent for the Plymouth tie too.
As quoted by Derbyshire Live, Rams boss Warne has confirmed Tuesday’s tie comes too soon, but he could be in contention for a return against managerless Oxford United this weekend. He said:
“Birdy is ready to train. But I don’t think he will train with the group today because we will do very little.
“But he will train with the group on Thursday and could be considered for involvement at the weekend. But it might be too soon.”
Warne went on to add he’s in no mood to risk Bird given the risk of re-injury, but he could get “10 or 20 minutes” against Oxford if he comes through Thursday and Friday’s training sessions well.
Closing in on a welcome return…
Bird has proven himself as a consistent and influential player over the course of this season. For a 22-year-old, he boasts a vast amount of experience and that has helped him assume the captaincy for much of this campaign.
The Derby County academy graduate has played 150 times for the club, managing four goals and nine assists in the process.
Having Bird back in the middle of the park will mark a welcome boost for Warne, but it will be interesting to see just who could lose their place in the starting XI. A place alongside Conor Hourihane looks to be up for grabs, with Jason Knight pushing forward into the no.10 role.
Louie Sibley, Harvey White, Korey Smith and Liam Thompson are also options in the middle of the park.