Gary Rowett believes that the East Midlands derby against Nottingham Forest on Sunday will provide the perfect opportunity for his returning internationals to get over their World Cup heartache.
Scotland’s Chris Martin and Ikechi Anya missed out on a place at the finals in Russia next summer along with Wales’ Joe Ledley and Tom Lawrence, leaving the Republic of Ireland’s Richard Keogh as Derby County’s sole representative in the play-offs.
The clash at Pride Park on Sunday will be Rowett’s first home East Midlands derby in charge, and he thinks that the big occasion is ideal for the returning squad members.
He told RamsTV: “I think it’s the perfect game for the players to come back to, they’ll be disappointed but at the same time they will realise that we’ve got a big game and sometimes the best way to get over disappointment is to throw yourself into the next one.
“We need to be focused on getting the result and I’m sure it won’t be an issue.”
Rowett attended Ireland’s 1-0 win against Wales at the Cardiff City Stadium and he expects that there will be a light-hearted atmosphere in the camp with the international players when they returned to training on Wednesday.
He continued: “I went to the game, it was a great atmosphere. The game didn’t live up to the build-up but that is often the case with these games as they are a little cagey.
“There will be a little bit of friendly banter between the players but ultimately we’re a team, we have good togetherness and we’ll all be focused on making sure we perform against Forest.”