Clough says Club Captain is going to be 'as important as ever' this season.

Clough says Club Captain is going to be 'as important as ever' this season.

Nigel Clough says that Club Captain Shaun Barker still has an important role to play this season, despite being sidelined through injury.

The defender suffered a dislocated knee cap, ruptured medial, anterior cruciate and posterior cruciate ligaments in his right knee, as well as suffering lateral damage, during the Rams’ 1-0 victory over Nottingham Forest at Pride Park in March.

After undergoing surgery in April, Barker was quickly ruled out for the entire 2012-13 campaign and is making steady progress in the early months of his rehabilitation programme.

However, Clough has admitted Barker will offer valuable support to the side over the next nine months in his role as Club Captain.

He said: "Shaun is going to be as important as ever; he is a great leader.

"He will be around the place and it will be a case of us supporting him, then him supporting us as well.

“We will help get Shaun through the next 12 months or so, but we feel as though he can be a major positive on the first team squad.

"He won't be moping around, he won't be sulking, he will be his usual positive self around the place and he is good to have around.

"Shaun came away with us over pre-season and he’ll be involved as normal.

“If we get a break during the season, for example during the international breaks, the lads might get two or three days away as well and it is important he stays a major part of that."

New signing Richard Keogh will wear the captain’s armband in Barker’s absence, and Clough believes the pair have struck up a good relationship off the pitch at Moor Farm.

He said: “Shaun and Richard are similar characters and they’re both signing from the same hymn sheet so we’ve got a good captain on the pitch and one off it as well.

“Richard is a leader and will be a good captain while Shaun is out, but equally Shaun has a big part to play and they’re working together to maintain the great team spirit we have here.”