07:00 Thursday 02 January 2014

Derby County duo Craig Bryson and Johnny Russell are injury doubts for Chelsea game

Written bySTEVE NICHOLSON

INJURY CONCERN . . . Johnny Russell (pictured) and Craig Bryson are injury doubts for the FA Cup tie against Chelsea on Sunday INJURY CONCERN . . . Johnny Russell (pictured) and Craig Bryson are injury doubts for the FA Cup tie against Chelsea on Sunday

DERBY County will check on the fitness of midfielder Craig Bryson and striker Johnny Russell ahead of Sunday’s FA Cup tie against Chelsea.

Bryson was replaced by Jeff Hendrick at half time during yesterday’s 1-0 defeat by Wigan Athletic at the iPro Stadium.

“Craig got a kick on the thigh on Boxing Day, like a dead leg, and it has affected his groin,” said head coach Steve McClaren. “We substituted him as a precaution.

Russell had treatment for a clash of heads during the second half against Wigan and may have suffered concussion.

McClaren felt his team were floored by a sucker-punch after suffering their first defeat in 10 matches.

Jean Beausejour worked a short corner and thumped in the decisive goal on 69 minutes to give Latics a 1-0 win.

“Wigan’s game-plan was to stop us playing, to frustrate us,” McClaren said.

“It was going to be one of those games that would be won or lost on a set play, and we were done by a sucker-punch.

“Wigan will look and say they did a great job on us.”

Derby had opportunities to equalise late on.

The best chance fell to top scorer Chris Martin, who failed to convert from close range and add to his 15 goals this season.

Derby have been scoring goals for fun but they could not find an equaliser.

“We have had good fortune in games in recent months,” McClaren “We have scored goals and had bits of fortune to win games when maybe we could have drawn or lost, so I have no complaints.

“We did not do enough to win the game but I didn’t think we deserved to lose it.

“It was a harsh lesson and probably shows how far we have progressed.

“I am proud of the players and the run they have been on.”

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