In the second-part of an exclusive interview with Raul Albentosa, the Spanish defender says Derby County's promotion push has a familiar feel to that which he experienced with Eibar.

In the second-part of an exclusive interview with Raul Albentosa, the Spanish defender says Derby County's promotion push has a familiar feel to that which he experienced with Eibar.

Ahead of the resumption of the Sky Bet Championship this Friday, only six points separate the division’s top six sides with just seven games remaining.

Derby are one of those six sides still in the thick of the battle for promotion to Barclays Premier League, but they will enter this crucial period of games on the back of a run of six games without a win.

For Albentosa, this is a situation that is unknown to him. Albeit a familiar run of results coming earlier in the season last year, he was part of a Eibar side that rose up to clinch promotion to La Liga for the very first time on the final day of the season.

With that experience, the Spanish defender admits he was under no illusions as to what the Championship was going to offer, but like Eibar before and Derby now, he insists most teams would be in ‘chaos’ after a poor run of form.

That is not the case within the Rams’ camp, though.

“From my time at other clubs, the situation we are currently in has usually brought more chaos and panic,” the 26-year-old told

“There is none of that here at Derby. Nobody is panicking; it is totally the opposite because the players know what they are capable of.

“Every team has down periods and this international period will help us to recharge the batteries for the last run of games of the season.

“We are confident in our ability and know that we have got enough about us to turn the situation around and get ourselves back on track.

“I expected this division exactly to be how it is. It is intense, there are not a lot between the sides and everyone has got something to play for.

“With so many teams like that, and with so many games in such a short space of time, you have to expect it to be tight.

“That was always the case when I was with Eibar and we were trying to get promoted to La Liga, so the two divisions are exactly the same in that respect.”

As he mentioned in the first of this two-part interview, Albentosa said the settling in process in a new country has been made easier by the ‘Derby Family’ and the people that are around him.

His first taste of Championship action came against Birmingham City and he went on to figure in Steve McClaren’s backline in the three top of the table clashes that followed after that.

The defender says he has a lot to thank the Derby backline for and he is particularly complimentary of the Derby captain, Richard Keogh, for guiding him through his first games in the hurly burly and ruthless nature of Championship football.


He added: “The defence in particular has really helped with adapting to this division.

“Richard Keogh speaks to me the most, not just because we play alongside each other, but because he has a lot to offer, a lot of experience and he is passing that on to me and guiding me if you like.

“Omar, before he got injured, was also very important. He helped with the communication on the pitch and bridged that issue in defence.”

With the interview coming to its conclusion, talk turns to the Derby fans.

With Eibar, Albentosa was ever used to turning out in front of an average home crowd of 2,901 – a number that you find across the board in the fourth tier of English football so to step out in front of over 30,000 fans every home game has proven to be something of a baptism of fire for the Alzira born Albentosa.

Numbers aside, it is the undying and unconditional support that has left Albentosa somewhat surprised.

He concluded: “The fans have been a really positive surprise for me as well since I have come here.

“We are not on the greatest run of results at the moment, but they turn up to away games in their numbers, they are staying until the very last minute and even for Tuesday night games, the iPro Stadium is full.

“In any normal case, if a team is on a bad run, the fans would be against the team, but they are sticking with us and are helping us drive on.”

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