Jake Buxton has said the reception he received from Derby County’s fans in the 1-0 win over Nottingham Forest ‘touched me deep down in my heart’.
The 31-year-old came off the bench in the latter stages of the East Midlands derby at the iPro Stadium on Saturday.
It was the central defender’s first league appearance in over a year and his first on home turf in a competitive game for almost 13 months.
When Buxton came off the bench, replacing Jason Shackell, he received a standing ovation from the Derby supporters.
The Rams’ longest serving player has had to be patient waiting for an opportunity this season due to the impressive form of Shackell and Richard Keogh in defence.
His only previous appearance this season was the FA Cup Third Round win at Hartlepool United in December – but says making his league comeback against Forest was perfectly timed.
Buxton told Rams Player HD: “It was lovely - it was a great feeling to get back on the pitch and put on the jersey.
“The reception that I received from the fans was absolutely fantastic and something that touched me deep down in my heart.
“The opportunity is what I’ve been waiting for and I’ve had to bide my time but I’m glad it came against Forest.
“It’s good to be back in the fold; I’m ready and raring to go for an opportunity should it come my way.”
On biding his time for a chance in the side, Buxton added: “I’ve waited a long time and also worked very hard so to walk out of a football club when times are tough is not what I’m about.
“If I can play one game at the end of the season or if I play every one or even none, I will still be here because I am fully behind this football club.”
Reflecting on the win against Forest, Buxton was full of praise for Derby’s defensive display.
After Marcus Olsson opened the scoring on 79 minutes, the Rams had to weather some late pressure and see the game out.
In their previous fixture, a 3-3 draw at Rotherham United, Derby let a three-goal lead slip and Buxton felt, as a response, keeping a clean sheet was vital.
He said: “I thought the back four especially played very well and were strong even at times when we weren’t necessarily playing at our best.
“In the second half I think the game got a little more stretched and it became a very tight affair, which local derbies normally are, so to hang on and keep a clean sheet in the way that we did was tremendous and for Marcus Olsson to score with his right foot was outstanding.
“With the frustration we all felt because of the goals we conceded at Rotherham, I think it was very important that we needed to be resilient and keep a clean sheet.”
A sell-out crowd packed into the iPro Stadium for the win over Forest.
Buxton says the Derby supporters deserved to bask in the glory of the local derby win for their vocal backing.
He said: “As phenomenal as the win is for everyone inside the football club, for the supporters, it is even bigger for them as Derby County is a massive part of their lives.
“We, as players, are honoured that they turn out every week in their numbers.
“We had 29,000 supporters at home the other week and a full house against Forest – it is atmospheres like this that players thrive in.”
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