Derby County manager Phillip Cocu has told RamsTV that the first impression of Matthew Carke’s injury doesn’t look good as he came off against Nottingham Forest.

Clarke started the game in his usual centre-back position alongside Curtis Davies. He looked assured, with Krystian Bielik controlling the midfield in-front of him.

(Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images).

The Brighton and Hove Albion loanee, however, was forced to withdraw after just 15 minutes following a poor tackle from Ryan Yates after Clarke had cleared the ball.

Yates was fortunate to escape a booking. Clarke, meanwhile, hobbled on for a few minutes before Cocu replaced him with George Evans. The Dutchman commented:

I think the first impression doesn’t look good. It’s too early to say, we have to examine. But, knowing his character, when he comes off, then I think it’s too much pain and let’s just hope for the team he is not out for too long because we cannot lose another defender.

Clarke struggled during his first two months at Derby. However, with Bielik and Graeme Shinnie sitting in-front, the defender began to find his feet at Pride Park.

The former Portsmouth man helped the Rams to four straight wins at Pride Park and three clean sheets in succession. He was a big miss at the City Ground.

Bielik dropped into the defence, and George Evans featured in midfield. It was a move which saw Derby lose much-needed bite and control in the middle third.

Forest went on to win 1-0 with Lewis Grabban scoring the winner.

Cocu will be hoping Clarke will return to action when Derby host Preston North End after the international break. In his absence, the Rams are short on options.

(Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images).

Bielik, Evans and Andre Wisdom could all play in central defence. However, none are naturals there and it’s a potential weakness the opposition could look to exploit.

Also see: ‘Dreadful Lampard signing’: Some Derby fans hammer player’s role in Forest defeat

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