Derby boss Wayne Rooney has told his players not to speak to former teammates Richard Keogh and Duane Holmes until they play at Huddersfield on Tuesday night.
The two sides meet at Pride Park, live Sky Sports Football Red Button from 7pm, with the 18th Sky Bet Championship Terriers just two points and a place above Derby as they look to move away from the relegation zone.
Former club captain Keogh had his contract with the Rams terminated with immediate effect in October 2019 for serious misconduct after having suffered a serious knee injury in a car accident. Derby teammates Tom Lawrence and Mason Bennett pleaded guilty to drunk driving and not stop at the scene of an accident following the incident.
Keogh was a passenger in the back seat of one of the vehicles.
Derby then confirmed he was ready to appeal against an employment court ruling which, according to Sky Sports News, ruled that Keogh had been unfairly dismissed and ordered Derby to pay £ 2million in compensation.
Keogh and Holmes joined Huddersfield in the January transfer window and the pair will face Derby for the first time since leaving the club.
“I’m sure for Richard Keogh and Duane Holmes these are two players who will come back and focus on their job for Huddersfield,” Rooney said.
“I told my players that I didn’t want to see anyone talk to them before the game. If they want to talk and catch up, they can do it after the game, but before the game we have to focus on our work.
“We have to focus on ourselves, and that’s it. After the game they can talk whatever they want, but before the game it’s important to keep our attention and focus.”
Derby will seek to bounce back after loses 2-1 to Watford, who continues his promotion Friday night, as Huddersfield will be keen to continue in the same goal-rich vein that saw them thrash Swansea 4-1 in their last game.