Derby County striker David Nugent told the club’s official Youtube Channel he won’t be fit for the playoff final.
The Rams secured their Championship playoff final spot following a dramatic night at Elland Road. Derby came from 1-0 down on the night (2-0 on aggregate) to claim a 4-2 victory and book a Wembley date.
Aston Villa will be Derby’s opponents after they saw off West Bromwich Albion on penalties in the other semi-final. It promises to be a grand occasion between two former established top-flight clubs.
Nugent, however, has ruled himself out of making an appearance at Wembley through injury. He featured in the first-leg against Leeds, but cited injury trouble during the post-match celebrations at Elland Road.
No, nowhere near fit [to play at Wembley]. I’ve got a bit of a bother from the first leg but come Wembley I’ll be there cheering on the lads. I can’t wait for it now. Villa in the final, we owe them for last time with the 4-0 drubbing. But I’ll tell you now, it won’t be the same again. Hopefully we can put on a surprise and get into the Premier League.
Can Derby County now reached the Premier League?
After losing the first-leg at Pride Park, few gave Derby much hope of overcoming Leeds to reach Wembley.
The Rams showed heart, grit, determination and quality in key moments to overcome Marcelo Bielsa’s side. They will have to show the same qualities against a Villa side who have a good record against Derby.
Nugent’s injury will leave boss Frank Lampard with an interesting choice. Martyn Waghorn should be back available, but Jack Marriott’s two goals against Leeds should be rewarded with a start.
But also, the former Preston man’s struggle with fitness could mean he has played his final game in a Rams shirt. Nugent’s contract at Pride Park expires this summer, and at 34 he is unlikely to be offered a new deal.