FIT-AGAIN Will Hughes adds to the competition for places in Derby County’s midfield ahead of tomorrow’s Championship clash at Reading.
Craig Bryson, Jeff Hendrick and John Eustace are also vying for a start against the Rams’ top-six rivals at the Madejski Stadium, kick off 3pm.
Hughes missed Tuesday’s goalless draw against Bolton Wanderers due to an ankle injury but the 18-year-old trained yesterday.
Eustace was recalled against Bolton having been surprisingly left out in the defeat by Millwall. He played as the deepest midfielder in a trio that featured Bryson and Hendrick.
Hendrick has started the last four matches and his performance in the Bolton game delighted McClaren.
“I thought he was tremendous, I thought he had a great game,” said the manager.
“Jeff was out for a while with injury earlier this season and he took a while coming back, but I think he is showing the kind of form he was showing before his injury.”
McClaren has used a central midfield three most of the time in his five months in charge.
If he sticks to that system, it will be interesting to see who misses out at Reading.
“There is a lot of competition,” he said. “It is a good headache to have and the players know they have to perform because there are other players waiting in the wings.”
George Thorne is also champing at the bit for a game.
He arrived from West Bromwich Albion six weeks ago and has yet to make his Rams’ debut.
“George has been unlucky,” said McClaren. “We were winning games when he arrived, and so it was difficult for him to get in.”