Phillip Cocu is hoping for some positive news when Derby County assess Matt Clarke’s knee injury in the coming days.

The on-loan Brighton & Hove Albion defender was forced off in the early stages of Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at local rivals Nottingham Forest.

The defender was quickly withdrawn after sustaining a heavy blow to his knee and left the City Ground wearing a protective brace.

The Derby boss is hopeful the injury isn’t too serious, particularly with centre-back being an area where options at limited at the present moment.

“I think the first impression doesn’t look good on his knee, but it is too early to say,” Cocu told RamsTV after the game.

“We have to examine him maybe in one or two days when it calms down. Knowing his character, when he comes off it is really too much pain.

“I hope for the team that he isn’t out for too long; we cannot lose another defender as in the centre-back position we don’t have too many options.”

Cocu believes Clarke, who joined the Rams on the eve of the new season on a season-long loan deal, has shown signs of improvement in recent weeks.

Clarke has made 14 appearances in all competitions so far in the campaign and the start against Forest was his sixth in a row alongside skipper Curtis Davies.

Cocu said: “Matt has developed himself very well. He works hard, progressed and it is always a pity if he will be out for some time.”