Speaking to the media ahead of the Barnsley clash, Derby County manager Wayne Rooney confirmed that Welsh winger Tom Lawrence is back in full training with the first team.

The 27-year-old picked up an ankle injury during a 0-0 draw with Stoke City at Pride Park in December, missing a total of 16 matches as a result.

“He’s trained with the team for the first time in full today,” stated Rooney.

“If there’s no reaction, he’ll train the full week with the team, and hopefully, he could be involved for the Brentford game.”

The Rams have won half of their matches in the absence of Lawrence, losing seven times and drawing once.

Derby County v Wycombe Wanderers - Sky Bet Championship
(Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

Zero goal involvements in 13 appearances this campaign doesn’t exactly make good reading for the former Leicester City man; it’s been an extremely frustrating return from a player who boasts so much quality.

Somehow, the jury is still out on Lawrence and how he fits into the Rams’ squad despite now being in his fourth season at the club, but could a consistent run in the squad under Rooney’s management bring the best out of the wide player? It remains to be seen.

With less than 18 months left on his Rams contract, the £5million Welshman enters a key stage of his Derby career.

He now needs to prove himself to Rooney – somebody he will be familiar with from Manchester United – and hopefully provide a spark in the final third between now and the end of the season.

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