Gary Rowett says Joe Ledley has ‘a chance’ of returning to action against Birmingham City this weekend – while fellow midfielder Bradley Johnson could be set for a spell out of action.

Ledley has missed Derby’s last three matches with a back injury and remains a doubt for Saturday’s trip across the Midlands.

Johnson has also been struggling with a back injury of late, sustained in the Boxing Day draw at Hull City.

He has missed two of Derby’s last three matches and Rowett says the former Norwich City man may need a period of rest and recovery.

“Joe has a chance of being fit for the Birmingham game but we think it’s more likely to be next week,” he told RamsTV.

“We’ve found out this morning (Thursday) that Bradley Johnson’s back injury is slightly worse than we thought, so it might be that he needs an extended period of rest and recovery to get back to being fully fit.

“We’re a body down in that position with him being out and possibly two if Joe doesn’t come back fighting fit.

“You’re always looking to react to those scenarios and make sure we have adequate numbers in any position, so we’re ready and prepared.”

The mid-season transfer window has been open since the beginning of January and Derby’s activity so far has been outbound.

Youngsters Max Lowe, Charles Vernam and Emil Riis Jakobsen have moved out on loan in a bid to gain first-team exposure, in addition to Farrend Rawson joining Forest Green Rovers on a permanent basis.

Rowett says the Rams are looking at ways to strengthen, where possible, for the remaining months of the campaign.

He said: “We’re looking at ways that we think we can strengthen for the last push if you like.

“We’re also looking at areas we might need cover in as well as possibly some lads that might want to go and play football elsewhere.

“There’s lots of ingredients in the melting pot if you like and I am sure we will act to whatever we think we’ll need.”