Football - Rams hope for Buxton return

Jake Buxton could return to action at Watford on Saturday and ease Derby's defensive problems.

PA Sport

With Mark O'Brien, James O'Connor and Shaun Barker all out with knee injuries, Kieron Freeman expected to be out for around a month after suffering a twisted ankle against Bolton in midweek and Gareth Roberts serving the final game of a three-match ban, the Rams are down to the bare bones at the back.

Buxton has sat out the last three matches after returning from an eight-week absence with knee ligament damage earlier than expected against Sheffield Wednesday on February 9, but the centre-back is set to resume training on Friday.

If Buxton is fit that would allow John Brayford to revert from centre-back to his usual right-back role. Should Buxton not make it, Brayford would continue alongside Richard Keogh at the heart of the defence and midfielder Ben Davies would replace Freeman at right-back - as he did after 29 minutes against Bolton on Tuesday night.

Elsewhere, teenage midfielder Will Hughes remains a doubt for Saturday. The 17-year-old missed his first game of the season in midweek after a groin strain forced him off during the goalless draw with Wolves last weekend.

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