Duane Holmes is on course to edge closer towards a first-team return by getting more game time with Derby County’s Under-23s.
The USA international midfielder has not featured under new manager Phillip Cocu after being sidelined with a groin injury since the end of last season.
Holmes initially picked up the problem in Derby’s Play-Off Semi-Final Second Leg victory at Leeds United and suffered a reoccurrence whilst on international duty in June.
The 24-year-old returned to training earlier this month and played 45 minutes for the Rams’ Under-23s in their 1-0 win at Southampton on Monday in Premier League 2 Division 1.
He is set to feature for Darren Wassall’s side on Friday afternoon in their latest league fixture at Tottenham Hotspur.
Manager Phillip Cocu is pleased with Holmes’ progress and has suggested that a return to the first-team fold may not be too far away.
Cocu told RamsTV: “Duane is continuing his work and will have another game with the Under-23s.
“He is doing well and that is positive.
“He played 45 minutes earlier in the week against Southampton for the Under-23s and he will look to get an hour, or perhaps more, on Friday.
“If the comes through that well that he could look at doing more work with the first-team next week.”
Another player who has been absent in recent weeks is right-back Jayden Bogle.
The Academy graduate sustained an ankle injury in the 0-0 draw with Swansea City just under two weeks ago.
While he is making steady progress, Cocu is not expecting to see the defender back in action until after the first international break of the season.
He said: “Jayden is still doing work indoors at the moments so he is not back on the field.
“He is doing his rehabilitation work and he will need some more time.
“I think it will be after the international break for him, so hopefully he will be back soon.”
Cocu says he has no fresh injuries to report ahead of Saturday’s home fixture against West Bromwich Albion (12:30pm kick-off).
Andre Wisdom and Ikechi Anya remain out of action, while Craig Forsyth is continuing to build up his fitness after a lengthy lay-off with a knee injury.
The Derby boss will also be able to call upon the services of on-loan Bristol City attacker Jamie Paterson as he was unable to face his parent club in midweek.
Cocu said: “We don’t have any fresh injuries from the game in midweek so everyone is available for the game.
“Obviously those players who are out injured and have been for a while won’t be available.”