Derby drink-drive duo back in training as Richard Keogh faces long injury lay-off

Shamed footballers Tom Lawrence and Mason Bennett have returned to Derby first-team training and could face Barnsley on Wednesday despite their drink-drive crash.

The pair have been charged with drink driving following a crash after a team-building session in a pub last week.

Derby captain Richard Keogh suffered a knee injury in the crash which has ruled him out for the rest of the season, with the BBC reporting he could face up to 15 months on the sidelines.

Lawrence and Bennett were banished from the squad who overcame Birmingham 3-2 at the weekend and the Championship club said last week the players “will pay a heavy price” for their actions.

Tom Lawrence’s Range Rover crashed into a lamppost

But manager Philip Cocu has been keen to re-integrate the players into his squad and it is understood the pair trained with their Derby team-mates on Monday.

It is unclear if Lawrence and Bennett will play a part in the encounter at Oakwell on Wednesday night, with Cocu expected to assess their emotional states and the mood towards them from the rest of the squad.

And the Derby manager admitted over the weekend that there was more at stake than just a game of football after his team ended a turbulent week with a 3-2 win over Birmingham.

Cocu and owner Mel Morris spoke to fans before the game to apologise for the incident in which Lawrence and Bennett were charged with drink driving and captain Keogh suffered a season-ending knee injury.

Derby County star Mason Bennett pictured at Drinkaware event days before drink-drive charge

Tom Lawrence was also charged with drink driving

The Rams responded on the pitch and the manager said: “It was a very difficult week, to get the win and the way we got it was special.

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“We made it more difficult than we should have but maybe it had to be this way.

“It was very positive and it shows the affection and importance of Derby County for Mel (Morris), the owner. He realises and knows how important the relationship of the fans is to the club. “

The Dutchman continued: “It’s something we stand for in difficult times, they are backing us which is great so we have to give something back.

Rams captain Richard Keogh has suffered a season-ending knee injury

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“Mel is a very busy man but takes his time to go and talk to the fans so we all try and do our piece.

“There was a little bit more at stake today than just a game of football. It’s a tough week but it’s more important how we deal with it as a club and for my part as a manager.

“I don’t like excuses, brushing things under the carpet, we have to face it like it is.

“People make mistakes, so you have to accept it, there are consequences but we also have to stick together and go forward and play football because the game goes on.”



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