Tomkins back in the mix

James Tomkins has been thanked by Derby County after his impressive loan spell at the Championship came to a close as planned.

The homegrown defender made eight appearances in all competitions for the struggling Rams, giving him vital first-team experience. That included a memorable League Cup quarter-final with Stoke City that helped the Rams into the last-four meeting with Manchester United. Tomkins is still eligible for the FA Cup and therefore available for selection, if required, against Barnsley this weekend.

Speaking to the club's official website, Derby caretaker manager Chris Hutchings was full of praise for the England Under-20 international. "It's disappointing to lose James as he has done well for us here, but it goes without saying that we fully respect West Ham's decision to recall and thank Gianfranco Zola for allowing us to loan him in the first place. He's a terrific lad and we all wish him well for the future."