Bristol City must be sick of the sight of Tom Ince.His goal at the weekend – a rare header – was his fifth in four meetings with the Robins as Derby County fought back from three goals down to seal a point from last Saturday’s meeting at Pride Park Stadium.
The 25-year-old wideman has scored 72 goals in his career and out of that total, only two have been headers.
Who was the other against?
“It was the second of my career I think. The other, ironically, came against Bristol City too when I was at Blackpool,” Ince told RamsTV.
“I don’t really use my head too much in those situations. A few of the lads have said that I leapt like a salmon, but I will take it. It’s another one to add to the list.”
The Rams’ top scorer this term has now got 12 goals to his name this term and the statistics show that Derby are still yet to lose a game when he has scored (played 27, won 17, drawn 10).
Although that was put under real scrutiny by Bristol City, the Rams recovered – thanks to two other strikes from Darren Bent – to pick up a valuable point that stretched their unbeaten record at Pride Park Stadium to 11 games.
With two further ‘massive’ home fixtures to come in the next week, Ince knows the importance of making sure Derby begin to start games stronger. He added: “You always look to make sure that it is a minimum of seven points when you get runs of games like these and we now know that these two home games are massive for us.
“If we can start the game like we did in the second half on Saturday then we won’t have any problems.
“We have got to get ourselves on the front foot a lot quicker and cut out the silly mistakes too.
“It felt like a defining moment for us on Saturday, because it showed that we have the character and the belief to come back from a situation like that. We can’t be doing that every game, though.”
With Cardiff City next up to visit Pride Park (kick-off: 7:45pm), Derby currently lie five points outside of the coveted play-off positions.
Not someone to look back and assess the ifs and buts, Ince is only looking forward and more importantly, how the Rams can claw that deficit back over the last 16 games of the season.
He does, though, say the comeback against Bristol City felt like a ‘defining moment’ in Derby’s season – one that has to be used as a stepping stone – but that will only be the case if they prove they have learned from it.
“There are a lot of good teams above us and we know it’s going to be hard to track them down, but we have to keep fighting,” Ince said.
“At this point, it is all about making sure that we are still up there come the vital time of the season when the pressure really is on.
“We can’t look back on past results. We can only look forward to the next game and for us that’s Cardiff.
“They are a good side and have just beaten Leeds away so they will come here in good spirits and not wanting to get rolled over.
“Saturday was a big lesson for us and we need to show we have learnt from that, get the three points against Cardiff, and swiftly move on.”
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