DERBY County have stepped up their search for loan signings after being rocked by another injury blow.
Paul Coutts faces four to five months out after dislocating a kneecap in the defeat to Leicester City on Tuesday night.
He joins fellow midfielders Jeff Hendrick and James Bailey on the sidelines.
Hendrick is recovering from ankle surgery and is two months away from a return while Bailey is out until mid-to-late October with a knee problem.
Derby were already making calls to clubs in their search to bolster the squad.
Now they have added more names to their list of targets, I understand, although it is unlikely a new face will appear ahead of Saturday’s Championship clash against rivals Nottingham Forest at the City Ground.
On the search, manager Nigel Clough said: “We are trying. We were making calls before Paul Coutts’ injury and so we will press on with that.
“We are fortunate we have still got Craig Bryson, Will Hughes and John Eustace, and Ben Davies can go in there as well.
“It might be too soon to get somebody in before this weekend.
“There are a few names on the list and we have to get round and make sure they are available, and that they want to come and whether it is the right sort of deal.
“All those sorts of things have to drop into place.”
Clough said the resources are there to add players to the squad.
“The squad is down to about 17 now and we just need cover in certain areas,” he said. “We feel the side has not done too badly. The games we have lost we still feel we have played quite well in.
“We have got a bit from the John Brayford sale to bring in a player or two.
“But it still has to be the right sort of deal and the right level. Which is the other problem.
“Some of the Premier League wages these days are out of our league, but we will plough on and see who we can get in.”
The name of Aston Villa’s right-sided midfielder Marc Albrighton remains on a long list of targets but a deal is looking less likely.
Albrighton has been involved in Villa’s last two games and he started their Capital One Cup tie against Tottenham Hotspur on Tuesday.
His wages are also likely to be a stumbling block.
Coutts was due to undergo surgery yesterday afternoon to repair his knee injury.
The 25-year-old was helped off in the first half of the defeat at Leicester after falling awkwardly under a challenge.
A scan revealed the extent of the injury.
“It’s a big blow for Paul, first and foremost, and ourselves as he was champing at the bit to get into the side on a more regular basis,” said Clough.
“He also provided options for us across midfield and so it is bitterly disappointing to lose him for quite a while.
“He will be upset about the injury now that he knows how bad it is, but he was upset he didn’t get a penalty from the challenge.”
Rams defender James O’Connor is also set for a lengthy spell out and could need an operation to repair a torn thigh muscle.
O’Connor suffered the injury playing for Bristol City against Swindon Town at the weekend.
He is on loan at Bristol City whose head coach Sean O’Driscoll said: “The tear in Jimmy’s thigh muscle is likely to require an operation.
“It’s every bit as bad as we feared at the time and he is going to be out for a long time.”