09:30 Tuesday 14 January 2014

Derby County duo Richard Keogh and Johnny Russell close in on Rams return

Written bySTEVE NICHOLSON

CHEEKY APPOINTMENT . . . Derby County captain Richard Keogh, who suffered a fractured cheekbone, is hoping to be given the all clear on Friday CHEEKY APPOINTMENT . . . Derby County captain Richard Keogh, who suffered a fractured cheekbone, is hoping to be given the all clear on Friday

SKIPPER Richard Keogh and striker Johnny Russell are making good progress in their recovery from injuries.

Both have returned to training this week although not full-contact training.

Keogh has missed the last five matches with a knee problem he suffered in the home victory over Doncaster Rovers last month.

Russell has been out for two games since he fractured a cheekbone in the defeat by Wigan Athletic on New Year’s Day.

“Johnny has trained wearing a horrible mask – he needs to pimp the mask up a bit and make it a little more attractive to the eye,” joked Simpson.

“He is training but with no contact at the moment.

“Nobody can go smashing into challenges with him and it is the same with Richard Keogh. We’ve told the players to just be careful with their challenges.

“If Johnny can get the okay on Friday from the specialist he may be able to join in fully next week.

“If Richard can have a full week’s training then if he’s not involved this weekend against Brighton, he will be the following weekend.

“There is a possibility he could be available for Brighton if he comes through this week okay, but it’s too early to say.”

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