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Derby County ease fears over George Thorne

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: July 23, 2014

By Steve Nicholson

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DERBY County have eased fears over George Thorne's fitness after the Rams' new signing limped out of last night's friendly against Zenit St Petersburg.

The midfielder was making his first appearance since he signed from West Bromwich Albion in a deal believed to be worth £2m plus add-ons.

Thorne started the 2-0 defeat by Zenit in Austria but twice needed treatment from the physio before he was replaced by John Eustace after 34 minutes.

Rams fans who had travelled to Kalsdorf, on the outskirts of Graz, looked on concerned as the player left the pitch.

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But first-team coach Paul Simpson believes Thorne's knocks are not too serious.

"George took two knocks," said Simpson.

"The first was a dead leg and then he jarred his knee just underneath his dead leg.

"He is limping and feeling a bit sorry for himself but hopefully he will be okay.

"George was only going to play 45 minutes or a bit longer, so he has not missed out on a lot of football."

Simpson said the quality of Russian giants Zenit was not a surprise.

Belgian World Cup midfielder Axel Witsel put them ahead in the first half and Ivan Solovyev made it two four minutes from full time.

"We knew it was going to be a tough test," said Simpson.

"With Zenit, we are talking about a group of world-class players but we are delighted with the work-out.

"It was about working on a few things tactically and giving a few of the players 90 minutes – Richard Keogh, Jake Buxton, Jeff Hendrick, Craig Forsyth and Chris Martin. They needed 90 minutes in the pre-season plan."

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