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Derby County's Shaun Barker 'delighted by miracle return'

Derby County club captain Shaun Barker admits that returning to first-team training after nearly three years out injured feels "not far off a miracle".

Derby County defender Shaun Barker has admitted that his return from a near three-year injury layoff feels "not far off a miracle".

The 32-year-old trained with the Rams first team on Tuesday, for the first time since dislocating his right kneecap and damaging ligaments against East Midlands rivals Nottingham Forest in March 2012.

Three operations and several setbacks later, Barker is "delighted" that he has nearly completed his long recovery, but admits that he will not be absolutely fulfilled until he steps back onto the pitch.

He told BBC Radio Derby: "I'm delighted but still unfulfilled. It's only half a job done, but to get to this stage is not far off a miracle."

When asked how his knee feels, Barker added: "Okay. Sore at times Hopefully it will improve the more I do and the more it gets used to what I'm asking."

The centre-back has played 105 times for Derby and remains club captain at the iPro Stadium.

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Manager of Derby County Steve McClaren looks on during the Sky Bet Championship match between Derby County and Leeds United at Pride Park Stadium on October 05, 2013
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Friday's key events

· The athletics schedule begins, with 100m sprinter Dina Asher-Smith among the names in action on the opening day. The men's 10,000m final concludes the action, with Team GB's Sam Atkin and Marc Scott taking part in the absence of 2012 and 2016 champion Sir Mo Farah (1am-2.30pm)

· Victoria Thornley is Team GB's representative in the women's single sculls final (1.33am)
· Great Britain will be going for gold in the men's eight final (2.25am)

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· Luke Greenbank has very realistic ambitions of picking up a medal in the men's 200m backstroke final (2.50am)
· There is also British representation in the women's 100m freestyle final, although any medal for Anna Hopkin would be a surprise (2.59am)
· With one gold and one silver already under his belt at these Games, Duncan Scott goes again in the men's 200m individual medley final (3.16am)

· Bryony Page will be looking to repeat her 2016 heroics in the women's event (5am-7.30pm)

· Bradley Forbes-Cryans will be looking to emulate Rio gold medallist Joe Clarke in the men's kayak event (6am-9am)

· The women's tournament enters the quarter-finals, with Great Britain facing Australia at the Ibaraki Kashima Stadium (10am)

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