The Rams have had to endure a bizarre injury crisis at left-back this season. First Marcus Olsson was ruled out for the season, then Craig Forsyth also picked up a lengthy knee ligament injury.

Frank Lampard signed Scott Malone in the summer from Huddersfield Town to provide competition for Forsyth. The 27-year-old then also went and missed key fixtures over the festive period with injury.

It left Derby having to utilise right-back Andre Wisdom on the left, prompting Lampard to recall Max Lowe.

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Max Lowe’s Derby County struggles:

The Derby academy product impressed during pre-season and started the opening two games of the season. However, a poor performance in the 4-1 home defeat to Leeds saw him drop to the bench.

Lowe then went out on loan at Aberdeen where he earned some rave reviews in Scotland. He found himself back at Pride Park in early January, and in contention to start both the FA Cup game against Southampton and the trip to Championship leaders Leeds.

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But over the two games Derby conceded four goals and Lowe in particular was given a tough time by Leeds’ 18-year-old winger Jack Clarke, who was making his first ever league start. Moreover, on the ball, Lowe had a nightmare at Elland Road, posting just a 38.9% pass-accuracy rate (Whoscored).

With Malone returning to the starting XI against Southampton on Wednesday, Lowe has been sent back to Aberdeen with a clear message suggesting Frank Lampard doesn’t believe he is quite ready yet.

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Furthermore, the 21-year-old’s position as back-up to Malone could be filled by former Lampard teammate Ashley Cole. A report in the BBC claims Derby are in talks with 38-year-old over a move to the East Midlands.

Cole hasn’t featured since October, with his last appearance coming in LA Galaxy’s 3-2 home defeat to Houston Dynamo. At 38, it’s questionable how much the former Chelsea man has left in the tank, and what his arrival could say about Lowe’s prospects of making it under Lampard at Pride Park.

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