Derby boss Nigel Clough hopes contract talks can be resolved with Kris Commons soon, believing they could be affecting his leading scorer.
The attacker was hauled off at half-time in the 3-0 loss at Watford on Saturday, with Clough believing Commons was "nowhere to be seen again."
The club are thought to be close to agreeing a new deal with Commons, who is out of contract in the summer, and Clough believes it could be a factor in his loss of form, with the 27-year-old now having drawn a blank in his last four games.
"With somebody who is out of contract in the summer there has to be that question (that contract talks could be affecting the player), without a doubt," Clough told the Derby Telegraph.
Explaining his reasoning to take off the striker, the Derby boss added: "He (Commons) did have a slight knock but he was coming off anyway.
"We need a team at the moment and people who are going to work for each other.
"When everything is going well and the team is playing well, you see a side of people and think they are good players and they are digging in for the team.
"Everybody remarked on Kris Commons' work rate in that good spell we had. At Watford, he was nowhere to be seen again."
While Clough added there was no update on Commons' contract situation, he hopes for an early resolution, although he has 'no idea' if there will be a positive outcome.