Derby County head coach Paul Warne has admitted that no new players will be signed before Saturday’s League One clash at Pride Park against relegation-threatened Cheltenham Town.
The Rams missed a massive opportunity to go top of England’s third tier on Tuesday following a 1-0 defeat away at strugglers Reading. A second-half Paul Mukairu goal sealed all three points for the Royals, lifting them to within just four points of safety.
The defeat was disappointing for Derby County but what will be disheartening for Warne is Tyreece John-Jules’ injury. Having recently extended his loan spell at Pride Park until the end of the season, the Arsenal academy product pulled his hamstring.
John-Jules is just back from a lengthy spell on the sidelines but is now set for another stint out of the team, having suffered a reoccurring injury on Tuesday after coming off the bench with less than half an hour remaining in the match.
The Rams are already a little light up top, with the likes of Martyn Waghorn and Conor Washington out with injuries. Now Warne can add John-Jules back on that list.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference ahead of Saturday’s fixture at home against Cheltenham Town, the manager revealed that Derby have been trying to bring a new centre-forward to the club, but a deal is unlikely to come to fruition before the weekend [quotes via Derbyshire Live]:
“We have an opportunity to bring another attacking player in and it (John-Jules injury) makes it even more essential.
“If you keep putting the same players week in, week out, fatigue will kick in. We’ve been trying anyway, but it just intensifies the need. I am not getting any closer and I don’t think I’ll have anybody in for the weekend (v Cheltenham).”
Derby County have been in talks to sign Sheffield Wednesday’s out-of-favour striker Michael Smith, who has previously worked with Warne at Rotherham United. Journalist Darren Witcoop reported that he expects a deal to be completed before Thursday’s deadline.
Losing John-Jules is a huge blow for Derby County. Warne must now solely rely on top goalscorer James Collins to lead the line and hope that the Republic of Ireland international manages to stay fit amid a flurry of fixtures.
Nonetheless, Saturday’s match against the Robins is Derby’s final fixture before the winter window ends, so hopefully the title-chasers will have a new striker through the door before they travel to The Valley to take on Charlton Athletic the following week.