NIGEL Clough spoke about trying to sign Manchester United central defender Michael Keane on loan only hours before he was sacked.
The Rams asked about Keane last week and it appears the 20-year-old’s United team mate, wide midfielder Larnell Cole, was to be part of the same loan deal.
Injuries and now a one-match suspension for skipper Richard Keogh following his red card in Saturday’s 1-0 defeat by Nottingham Forest at the City Ground has left Derby short of bodies.
Midfielders Jeff Hendrick, Paul Coutts and James Bailey are sidelined as are centre halves Mark O’Brien and Shaun Barker. A small squad is creaking.
Speaking after the Forest game, Clough said he was looking to bring somebody in ahead of the visit of Ipswich Town tomorrow night.
He said Valentin Gjokaj might step in at centre back against Ipswich or Craig Forsyth could move across with Kieron Freeman replacing him at left back.
On Keane, Clough said: “Yes, we enquired, We enquired about one (Keane) and then the other one (Cole) came as a result of that. So we said we would revisit it after the weekend.
“It is a question of trying to agree the right sort of deal, not financially, but to get them the necessary experience.
“It was not ruled out. We said we’d leave it until after the weekend because we were happy with Jake Buxton and Richard Keogh going into the Forest game.
“We have made enquiries for in excess of a dozen players in the last few days.”
Keane made 27 starts while on loan at Leicester City last season. Cole is also 20 and can play on the right or left of midfield.
Keogh’s ever-present run in the team since he signed from Coventry City in the summer of 2012 will end when Ipswich visit Pride Park in the Championship tomorrow.
He was booked in the first half at Forest and was then judged to have brought down Chris Cohen for a penalty after 79 minutes and was shown a second yellow card, and then a red by referee Simon Hooper.
Keogh was clearly angry at the decision and Clough said he did not think it was a penalty.
“We thought it was one of those where the attacker went into the defender rather than the other way round,” added Clough.
“He (Cohen) leant into Richard and to compound his mistake the referee has sent Richard off which was even more inexplicable to us.
“Richard didn’t think it was a foul or a penalty never mind a yellow card.”