Nigel Clough reckons Derby County’s team spirit has ‘gone up a notch’ this season.
The togetherness and strong bond within the Rams’ dressing room has been regularly highlighted throughout the last 12 months.
Whether it be the players digging deep for each other on the pitch or during the regular team bonding sessions and events, there’s a real family feel about the squad Clough has assembled.
Clough is convinced that the feel-good factor off the pitch has an impact on the pitch, and said: “I actually think the team spirit has gone up a notch this year, which is a credit to all the lads we have.
“It is something which has been building for the last few years and that’s not against anyone that has left the group in recent times.
“They are a strong unit and the ones that have arrived in the summer have embraced everything, and the players that were already here have made them more than welcome.
“In fact, I think they make it very easy and make them feel and home – which we feel is reflected in the performances.”
The Rams boss believes Club Captain Shaun Barker has played a key role in developing the team spirit.
The 29-year-old will sit out the entire 2012-13 season with a long-term knee injury, but Clough says the centre-back has had a big part to play in the changing room.
He explained: “A big part of the spirit has to go down to Shaun.
“Although he can’t get on the pitch this season, he has a huge role to play in the changing room.
“He went away with the players in the September international break and he does a great job bringing the players together as a group.”