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Derby County v Millwall: Match preview

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: March 07, 2014

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KEY midfielder Craig Bryson is ready to face Millwall tomorrow, says Derby County head coach Steve McClaren.

A thigh problem kept Bryson out of the last home game, a narrow victory over Bournemouth, and he was used only as a late substitute in the defeat at Burnley last Saturday.

McClaren revealed later that it would have been too much of a risk to start the Scottish international at Turf Moor.

Bryson has trained all week and when asked about the player's chances of starting against Millwall at the iPro Stadium, McClaren replied: "He will be ready."

Bryson has scored a dozen goals this season including a hat trick when Derby won 5-1 at Millwall in September.

Jeff Hendrick came in for Bryson against Bournemouth and also started at Burnley. He played 90 minutes for the Republic of Ireland under-21 side in a 2-1 defeat by Montenegro on Wednesday.

Skipper Richard Keogh, Jamie Ward and Will Hughes have returned from international duty unscathed.

Keogh played a full game for the Republic of Ireland against Serbia, Ward was on the pitch for 62 minutes of Northern Ireland's goalless draw in Cyprus and Hughes appeared as a 71st minute substitute for England Under-21s against Wales.

Derby will be without top scorer Chris Martin.

He serves a one-match ban for his red card at Burnley and Conor Sammon looks favourite to step in for what would be only his second league start this season.

The striker has found himself on the bench after being a regular starter last season.

"He has handled it unbelievably well, absolutely fantastic. He is a model professional," said McClaren.

"Conor is what you call a real squad member. When I talk about the 11 to 23 being important, he is very important.

"He is disappointed, but it doesn't faze him.

"I always say the heroes at the beginning of the season are not always heroes at the end. So when you get the opportunity, make sure you take it.

"Conor has not had many opportunities, he has had to wait, but he has made an impact whenever he has come on.

"We would have no hesitation putting Conor in the team."

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