Manager Phillip Cocu has provided an injury update from the Derby County camp ahead of this weekend’s home game against Preston North End.

Derby will return to action following the third international of the campaign against the high-flying Lilywhites at Pride Park Stadium on Saturday afternoon (3pm kick-off).

Attacker Tom Lawrence, who is Derby’s leading goalscorer so far this season with five goals, is expected to be available for selection.

He missed Wales’ games against Azerbaijan and Hungary due to illness but Cocu expects the 25-year-old to feature against Alex Neil’s side.

“Tom trained today and is much better,” Cocu told RamsTV.

“We expect in the next two days he will improve more and more with the medication he has got. I am convinced he will be available for the Saturday game.”

Frustratingly, Cocu will be without on-loan Brighton & Hove Albion defender Matt Clarke for a few weeks.

The centre-back sustained a knee injury against Nottingham Forest prior to the international break, while left-back Scott Malone is also nursing a knee problem.

Cocu explained: “Matt will be out for a few more weeks.

“After the game against Forest we knew it was a serious injury. He is doing quite well so that is positive, but still he will take several weeks to return to play.

“In addition, Scott Malone will need some more time. He is improving a little bit faster than we expected so that is positive. He is not available and probably Tuesday at Fulham he will also be out.”

Midfielder Tom Huddlestone has been out of action since the beginning of October with a hamstring problem.

While the experienced former England international is making good progress, Cocu says the Rams must be patient.

He said: “Tom will take more time. We spoke about months when he got injured; the recovery is going as planned. It’s too early to have any predictions of when he will return. We must be patient.”

Two players making steps in the right direction are Andre Wisdom and Craig Forsyth. The pair have recently returned from long-term knee injuries and, with Derby short defensively, could have a part to play.

Wisdom returned to the fold in October and came off the bench in the win against Luton Town, while Forsyth has been building up his fitness with the Under-23s after a year out.

Cocu said: “They are doing well. Andre came back from a long injury and he is improving a lot. Not only his fitness, but also his integration in the team process and how we want to work. He is really stepping up and I am really happy and pleased to see it. He is getting closer to getting an opportunity.

“I think it is the same for Craig. He has played seven or eight games, five for 90 minutes, so he is back and available. If we need him, I think he is ready to play.”