He used to be Steve Bruce’s captain on the pitch, but Curtis Davies is looking forward to going toe-to-toe against his former boss and attempting to get one over him this weekend!
Fourth meet fifth in the Sky Bet Championship on Saturday afternoon at Pride Park Stadium, with the Rams heading into the contest looking to secure a third straight win, kick-off: 3pm.
On a personal level, Davies will not only be coming up against one of his former clubs, but also his ex-coach.
He and Bruce worked together for three years, during which they reached an Emirates FA Cup Final, endured relegation to the Championship and tasted the sweet success of promotion via the play-offs.
That latter achievement came in the Championship and speaking about Bruce, Davies says his former manager’s biggest quality is his knowhow when it comes to lifting teams into the Premier League and getting results in big games.
From that experience, the 33-year-old has half an idea on what to expect this weekend.
“He’s a good guy and I enjoyed working for him,” the Derby defender told RamsTV.
“I was his captain and it will be good to see him and his staff from when we played together. More than being a tactician, he just knows what is required, particularly at this level, and he knows how to set you up to get a result.
“He knows the team that needs to be put together to be successful and that’s why he has got such a good record of getting teams out of this division.
“It will be a good chess match on Saturday and from knowing him, I know he will be saying to his players that if they can’t win it, don’t lose it.
“With the teams we are in, no-one wants to lose any ground on the other. It will be interesting to see how they set up.”
Ahead of this fixture, Gary Rowett, the Rams’ manager, insisted that victory over Aston Villa, the side tipped by many bookmakers for promotion to the Premier League this term, would not represent a marker for the club.
That’s a statement that Davies agreed with too.
Rather than one result making the Championship sit up and take notice, the centre back says Derby maintaining their current form will send out a bigger statement as the busy Christmas period looms.
“We beat Hull City 5-0 and then lost the next one, at Bristol City, 4-1 earlier this season,” Davies said.
“You would usually say that a big 5-0 win over a team just coming down from the Premier League would be a marker, but then we lost the next game.
“Our biggest marker is our form. We have lost two games in our last 14 games and that’s our marker and the only thing that will come to fruition come the end of the season.
“It would, however, be good to get the win not only to put some distance between us and Villa, but also close the gap between us and second place.”