Derby V Tranmere at Pride Park Stadium - Match Preview

Rams wait on trio

Derby will check on the fitness of Craig Bryson, Gareth Roberts and Jamie Ward ahead of the FA Cup third-round tie against Tranmere.

Midfielder Bryson (knee), left-back Roberts (calf) and forward Ward (hamstring) all missed the league victory over Middlesbrough on New Year's Day.

Rams boss Nigel Clough insists none of the trio will be risked against the League One leaders if they are not 100% ready.

"That would be the same if it was a league game," said Clough. "We still have 20 games left in the Championship and a few cup games, we hope, and we want them available for most of those.

"We cannot afford for them to be missing for half of those games.

"It is important we get players fit, we need them to bolster the squad."

Forwards Nathan Tyson, Theo Robinson and Conor Doyle and defender James O'Connor are options for Clough should he wish to make changes to his starting line-up.

Michael Hoganson made his Derby debut as a late substitute against Middlesbrough while fellow teenage defender Valentin Gjokaj was also on the bench for that game. Both could be involved in the squad again at the weekend.

Tranmere manager Ronnie Moore has no new injury worries.

Captain James Wallace is still unable to return to action from a medial knee ligament injury while forward Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro (broken metatarsal) and winger Abdulai Bell-Baggie (lateral knee ligament) remain sidelined.

Cole Stockton, Rovers' matchwinner in the 1-0 triumph over Scunthorpe last weekend that sent them back to the npower League One summit, is pushing for a start after top scorer Jake Cassidy returned to Wolves at the end of his loan spell.

"We'll go there and enjoy it and hopefully do ourselves proud," Moore told his club's official website.

"We're not expected to win but we might go there and get a draw or get a win. You just don't know in football what can happen.

"It's a fantastic stadium and the lads deserve a little break from the pressures of the league. Everyone lifts themselves that 20 per cent when you're top of the league and it's harder. Sometimes you're better off sat in second spot."

Source: PA

Source: PA