Rams could handle Noble loss
Clough will not be left short if loanee heads back to Sunderland
Last Updated: February 9, 2012 2:07pm
Ryan Noble: Derby are set to discuss Sunderland's plans for the promising striker
Nigel Clough is unsure whether Ryan Noble will remain at Derby past the end of his current loan deal, but is happy with the striking cover he has at his disposal.
Noble rejoined the Rams on a month-long loan in January, but that agreement is due to expire after a home date with Reading on Tuesday.
Clough admits Sunderland may decide to take the 20-year-old back, with the Black Cats currently short on attacking options.
Derby faced a similar dilemma themselves recently, forcing them to move for Noble, but with the likes of Nathan Tyson, Theo Robinson and Steven Davis all back in contention, their firepower has been boosted considerably.
"We'll have a chat with Sunderland and see what their plans are and if they need him (Noble) back," said Clough.
"I know they have been a bit short of strikers but if Theo's calf is not far off and Steven Davis is fit as well as Bally (Callum Ball) and Nathan, we now have a few fit strikers.
"The other strikers are doing well. Steven was out for quite a number of months and although he was able to train, he just needs to build his match fitness. He has had two or three reserve games but he just needs to show a little bit more than he did in those games to tell us he is ready to come back in.
"Nathan would have started against Nottingham Forest had the game been on and as long as he has a good week's training he will be in contention to start at Millwall on Saturday."