Derby County defender Curtis Davies is seemingly set for a spell on the side-lines.
The experienced centre-back has been one of the Rams’ better performers this season in an otherwise disappointing opening period to the 2020-21 campaign.
Since Davies was restored to the side at Norwich City on matchweek four, Derby have conceded 14 goals in 14 games. In their heaviest defeat during that period, a 3-0 drubbing at Middlesbrough, Davies was an unused substitute which further highlights his importance.
The 35-year-old, however, could be out for the foreseeable future after leaving the field on a stretcher during the 0-0 midweek draw at high-flying Brentford.
Davies went up for a header and landed awkwardly. It’s never a good sign when a player leaves on a stretcher, and less so when it seems to have happened in innocuous circumstances.
While it’s a disappointment for the Derby skipper, his absence could allow summer signing Mike te Wierik to come back into the fold and stake his claim for a place in the side.
The Dutchman joined the Rams on a free transfer from Groningen in the summer.
Many Derby fans were excited to see te Wierik in action. Afterall, he was captain of a Groningen side which had one of the best defensive records in the Eredivisie last season.
The 28-year-old, however, has struggled to make an impact at Pride Park.
Te Wierik has made just three Championship starts this term. He was sent off in the EFL cup defeat to Preston, and his following start ended in a 4-0 defeat to Blackburn Rovers.
Te Wierik hasn’t featured for the first-team since October. He didn’t even make the bench for the trip to Brentford, with academy product Kornell McDonald chosen ahead of him.
Since Phillip Cocu’s departure, some fans have speculated that the Dutch defender may be in line for a swift exit in the upcoming January transfer window.
While that may be an option, a fresh return the first-team set-up shouldn’t be ruled out.
Davies’s injury leaves Derby light on natural central defenders. Andre Wisdom will likely feature alongside Matt Clarke against Stoke City, but beyond those two there is a void.