Assistant Manager Liam Rosenior has provided a positive update on Curtis Davies's rehabilitation as he continues to recover from surgery on his Achilles.
The experienced defender has been out of action for almost three months since picking up the injury in Derby’s Sky Bet Championship away fixture against Brentford on 9th December.
While the club captain is unlikely to play again this season, he is on the road to recovery and contributing in other ways off the field.
"The operation was a success," Rosenior told the Football Journalism students at the University of Derby. "We see him more and more in the training ground now and also on the TV too.
“He’s still a big voice in the dressing room. He still comes to the games and he’s got huge experience that he passes onto the younger players, which is great.
“He’s fantastic with the media and I think it’s helpful if you’ve got something else you can focus on. It kind of relieves that pressure.”
Davies made 12 appearances in the current campaign before sustaining his injury and, despite the club's improved form in recent months to move out of the Championship’s bottom three, his absence has been felt.
First-team coach Shay Given also told the Football Journalism students at the University of Derby: "You miss someone like Curtis and his personality."
One player who has developed markedly during Davies' absence is fellow centre-back Andre Wisdom.
Given said: "Andre has really stepped up to the plate, not just with his performances but his leadership on and off the pitch as well.
“He’s not come out of his shell as such, he’s already an experienced player, but he’s really taken it everything board."
Both Wisdom and Davies signed for Derby back in the summer 2017 and the pair have impressed on the pitch.
During their time at the club, the duo have played under four different managers following the permanent appointment of Wayne Rooney in January.
Rooney brought in a number of loan players in during the mid-season transfer window and Wisdom's presence has helped the new arrivals settle.
Given said: "We have got a lot of young players in the team, and we do need those voices on the pitch and in the changing room. Andre has been brilliant at that."
While losing a regular starter and leader from the heart of the defence through a long-term injury was obviously a blow, Wisdom has helped fill the void left by Davies.
Given added: "It's really quite refreshing to see that he's done so well."
By Meg Garbutt, Football Journalism student at the University of Derby.