Gary Rowett has revealed that Tom Lawrence’s ankle injury is not as bad as first feared - meaning he is in line for a swift return to the Derby County fold.

The Wales international wideman sustained ligament damage in the first half of last weekend’s 3-0 victory at Barnsley.

Lawrence, who opened the scoring at Oakwell with a close-range finish, was injured in the closing moments of the half and was substituted at the break.

Rowett says the summer signing from Leicester City is set to sit out Saturday’s home game against Aston Villa at Pride Park Stadium - but he is confident of welcoming the 23-year-old back for the hectic Christmas schedule.

The Derby boss told RamsTV this morning: “Tom’s probably just going to miss out on the game against Aston Villa this weekend.

“The medical team are hopeful that he will be available for the match against Millwall next Saturday.

“That’s really good news; it might not pan out that way but that’s the prognosis at the moment. His ankle looks quite bad at the moment as it’s heavily bruised and swollen, but it’s more superficial than we first feared.”

Rowett added: “Tom has damaged one ligament in the ankle so it’s certainly more positive than we first feared.

“Once the ligament settles down, which isn’t a major one in the ankle, it shouldn’t stop him getting back out on the pitch again.”

Since joining Derby in August, Lawrence has made 20 appearances and found the back of the net on two occasions.