Derby boss Wayne Rooney has told his players not to speak to former team-mates Richard Keogh and Duane Holmes until after they play Huddersfield on Tuesday night.
The two sides meet at Pride Park, live on Sky Sports Football Red Button from 7pm, with the Terriers 18th in the Sky Bet Championship, just two points and one place above Derby as they look to pull away from the relegation zone.
Former club captain Keogh had his Rams contract terminated with immediate effect in October 2019 on grounds of gross misconduct after he suffered a serious knee injury in a car crash. Derby team-mates Tom Lawrence and Mason Bennett pleaded guilty to drink-driving and failing to stop at the scene of an accident following the incident.
Keogh was a passenger in the back seat of one of the vehicles.
Derby subsequently confirmed they are set to appeal against an employment tribunal decision which, Sky Sports News has been told, has decided Keogh was unfairly dismissed and ordered Derby to pay £2m 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 am sure for Richard Keogh and Duane Holmes they are two players who will be coming back and focusing on their jobs for Huddersfield,” said Rooney.
“I have said to my players I don’t want to see anyone speaking to them before the game. If they want to speak and catch up, they can do that after the game but before the game we have to focus on our jobs.
“We have to focus on ourselves, and that’s it. After the game they can talk about what they want, but before the game it is important we keep our attention and focus.”
Derby will be looking to bounce back after losing 2-1 at promotion-chasing Watford on Friday night, while Huddersfield will be keen to continue in the same rich vein of goalscoring that saw them thrash Swansea 4-1 in their last match.