Owls defenders Lewis Buxton, Reda Johnson and Oguchi Onyewu are stepping up their comebacks.
Buxton made a return to full training yesterday while Stuart Gray was pleased to see Johnson and Onyewu out of the treatment room and doing some outdoor running.
None of the three is expected to be back in first-teaam action imminently but the Wednesday manager said: “Lewis did the main session. That’s refreshing and rewarding, and pleasing for him. Reda and Oguchi were out running.
“Fingers crossed they’ll stay out of the treatment room.
“We’re not going to put pressure on them to get back on Saturday; we don’t want them breaking down, as happened with Lewis and Michail Antonio.”
Derby, unlike Wednesday, have had a settled side as well as a successful one. They are unbeaten in their last five games, are the division’s top scorers and fourth in the table, and beat third-placed QPR 1-0 at home in their last game.
Says Gray: “They’re an excellent side. I was at the game when they beat QPR and they deserved the win. They’ve got three lads in midfield who can dominate the game.
“Steve (McClaren) inherited a good set of players. Nigel (Clough) did a fantastic job there and Steve has carried it on.
“He’s got goals from all around the team: defenders who are scoring goals from set plays, midfield that contributes, and the boy Martin up front is a handful. Bamford from Chelsea is a very good player and has been scoring goals as well.”
McClaren watched the Owls lose to Wigan: “It was never a 3-0,” he said. “They had plenty of chances and took the game to Wigan.
So we expect that from them again.
“Stuart Gray has done a great job. Under him they have steadied the ship and have been getting results through good organisation and have signed good loan players.”