BLACKBURN boss Graeme Souness is sweating on the fitness of Craig Short ahead of Rovers' FA Cup clash with Derby at the weekend.

The 32-year-old centre back has missed the last six weeks because of a persistent calf injury.

But the former Derby man is now back in training and hoping for a recall against his former club.

And Souness may have to call on him -- despite his recent lack of match action -- with experienced centre back Henning Berg a definite non-starter due to suspension.

"Craig is back in training and he has a chance for the weekend," said Souness.

"He's one of these boys who works extremely hard when he's injured to keep the rest of his body going.

"And I'd have no worries throwing him in despite his lack of games recently.

"But it just depends whether I decide to go that way or not.

"I might consider a number of different options.

"Marlon Broomes is fit again and he'll be in the squad as he was against Birmingham last week.

"So that's something I've got to consider."

Berg misses the game after picking up his fifth caution of the season in the 3-2 victory against Preston North End a fortnight ago.

And that means Rovers must go into one of their biggest games of the season so far without their two most senior players, with Mark Hughes also set to complete his two-match ban.

"It's a blow to lose those two, simply from an experience point of view," said Souness.

"But that's football and that's why you have a big squad to cope with such problems."

Souness has been boosted, however, by the return of striker Nathan Blake.

And the Ewood chief revealed he hopes to include the Welsh striker among his substitutes.

"Nathan will be in the squad for the weekend.

"It's not ideal because he's not had enough games.

"But, with Mark Hughes out, we need cover and I'll probably use him as a substitute."

Souness has received further good news from the treatment room with Damien Johnson now back in full training.

Derby face an availability crisis ahead of Saturday's game.

Already without Taribo West, the Nigeria defender, who is away on international duty, Chris Riggott, the defender, and Craig Burley, the midfield player, who are both suspended, and Seth Johnson, the England international, who will miss the match with a knee injury, Derby will now also lose the services of Darryl Powell and Deon Burton, their Jamaica internationals.

Derby manager Jim Smith today slammed the Jamaican FA for abusing the fixture calendar after learning that he could be without Powell and Burton for two matches because of their involvement in friendly games against Bolivia tomorrow and Bulgaria on Sunday in Florida.

Meanwhile, Rovers were set to put forward a motion to convert Jack Walker's loans into shares at today's Annual General Meeting.