Tom Lawrence and Mason Bennett receive frosty reception from Derby fans on return to team

Tom Lawrence and Mason Bennett have been booed by the Derby fans after returning to the first team following their drink-drive crash.

The Rams duo were charged following a crash after a team-building exercise at a pub last week, in which Richard Keogh suffered a season-ending knee injury.

Lawrence and Bennett were banished from the squad that beat Birmingham 3-2 at the weekend, with Derby insisting the pair will “pay a heavy price” for their actions.

But manager Philip Cocu has included them both in his Derby team to take on Barnsley at Oakwell this Wednesday, with Lawrence starting and Bennett named on the bench.



Mason Bennett on the Oakwell pitch with Derby team-mate Max Lowe

Cocu admitted over the weekend that there was more at stake than football following his side’s win over the Blues.

He said: “It was a very difficult week, to get the win and the way we got it was special. 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.”



Tom Lawrence has been selected to start against Barnsley



Lawrence’s Range Rover crashed into a lamppost

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

“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.



Richard Keogh suffered a season-ending knee injury in the crash

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“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.”

source.



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