Derby County have been dealt a blow regarding the fitness of Festy Ebosele ahead of their upcoming Championship clash.
In recent comments cited by Derbyshire Live, Wayne Rooney confirmed that the right-back, who last featured for the Rams in the 2-1 loss to Peterborough United back in August, has not recovered from illness in time to be available for selection for the visit of Reading on Wednesday evening.
Speaking about the current condition of the 19-year-old, Rooney said: “Festy will be in [on Wednesday] training on his own and hopefully he can train with the group on Thursday.”
Considering that Rooney opted to start Ebosele in the Peterborough United loss, in addition to the fact that the 35-year-old’s other option on the right-hand side of his defence, Nathan Byrne, has not exactly been in the best form of his career this season, the news that the Republic of Ireland U21 international is not fit to feature on Wednesday is sure to have left the Rams boss gutted.
Indeed, over Bryne’s nine Championship appearances this term, the £1.35m-rated man has helped his side keep three clean sheets, as well as making an average of 0.4 interceptions, 1.4 tackles, 2.8 clearances and winning 3.6 duels per game.
As such, the return of Ebosele would certainly be a boost for Rooney, as, not only would the 19-year-old provide the manager with another option in the position, he would also more than likely push the level of Bryne’s performances up, as the 29-year-old will undoubtedly want to retain his place in the starting XI.
However, Rooney will nevertheless have to make do without the youngster once again on Wednesday, in a game which the Rams simply must win if they are to give themselves any chance of securing survival this season, following the club’s 12 point deduction after entering administration.