Steve McClaren has demanded that Derby County’s players be ‘ruthless and take advantage of what they’ve done this week’ when they travel to Birmingham City tomorrow.
The Rams will head to the West Midlands in good form after picking up two wins and a draw from their last three matches.
Derby had to leave it late to record a 3-2 win over Yeovil Town on Tuesday as striker Chris Martin headed home the winning goal in stoppage time - and McClaren wants his side to build on that emotional high at St Andrews.
After back-to-back league defeats at the start of 2014 McClaren has been pleased with the response of his players and he told Rams Player: “It was important we showed a reaction from the back-to-back defeats at the start of the New Year.
“So far, the response has been strong and positive - but Saturday is a big, big game for us.
“After such a good few games we don’t want to let it go to waste because that would be a bit of a weakness for us.
“We have to make sure we are ruthless and take advantage of what we’ve done this week already.”
He added: “Birmingham will be tough opponents, we saw that earlier in the season and Lee Clark is doing a good job at St Andrews.
“I know circumstances have been a bit difficult for him but he’s doing really well and they are a dangerous team, especially at home.”
Derby have hit the net towards the end of each of the last three matches and McClaren believes that has been achieved as a result of intense pressure from his side.
He also believes another reason for the late goals has been Derby’s substitutes making an impact on matches.
He said: “We’ve been scoring a few late goals and I think a sign of a successful team is when you can make things happen in the last ten minutes.
“We kept knocking and knocking on the door against Yeovil and we eventually we ground them down and I think that’s what it is down to, sheer pressure.
“I think having a bench that can make a difference is hugely important too and it has worked for us so far.”
Although Derby are 11 points clear of the teams outside the top six, McClaren insists no-one is getting ahead of themselves.
After passing the 50-point mark in midweek he says the next target is to surpass 60 as soon as possible.
He said: “People ask me if we’re looking up or down the Championship table but to be honest we’re not looking anywhere.
“This Championship is crazy and some teams have games in hand so there’s not too much point looking at the table.
“We just have to concentrate on the next game; we’re over 50 points now and that was a big target for us.
“The next target for us now is to get over 60 points as quickly as possible and then we’ll look at 70.
“It really is ‘one game at a time’ for us and we’ll just try to collect as many points as we can.”
Watch Steve McClaren’s full pre-match interview on Rams Player.