The Northern Ireland international had been struggling with a hamstring injury since limping off in the reverse fixture against Forest at the City Ground on September 30.
After a couple of substitute appearances and a run-out for the reserves, the diminutive forward was named in Clough's XI for the derby and netted his sixth goal of the season early in the second half to earn Derby a point.
Clough said: "That's his first start for three months and he's been our major goal threat when he's started this season so to not have the partnership we wanted out there for three months has been hard for us.
"He was not as sharp as he normally is but he got a great goal. He's one of those players, he's a little so and so a times on the pitch which is what we miss as well because we are nice lads on the pitch, too nice sometimes!
"They are lovely lads, Jeff (Hendrick) and Will (Hughes) but we want to see them having an edge to them as well but that will come."
- Sports & Recreation