Derby County's Will Hughes could benefit from injury - Nigel Clough

Will Hughes

Derby County manager Nigel Clough says teenager Will Hughes could benefit from his prolonged absence through injury.

Hughes has not featured since the February 16, and Clough is not sure if he will play again this season.

But the Rams boss is not concerned if the youngster is unable to add to his growing reputation - as long he is bulking up in the weights room.

"He is at work in the gym, which he needs anyway to help his physical development," Clough told BBC Derby.

"We had to get a special sort of weights brought in because we didn't have any that light."

Clough said Hughes could learn a great deal from captain Shaun Barker, who is recovering from a career threatening injury he suffered more than 12 months ago.

"All Will has to do is look at Shaun Barker next to him in the gym and see how you have to cope with different things in football.

"It is something as a professional footballer that he is going to have to get used to.

"Unfortunately, he is going to get spells out over the next 15 years, that we hope his career will be."

Clough said both John Brayford (hamstring) and Gareth Roberts (calf) have stepped up their own recovery from injury.

"John is at the stage where he is running and just joining in some of the stuff we can do, but not too much of the contact stuff," Clough added.