Richard Keogh and Curtis Davies have been a constant at the heart of Derby County’s backline this season.
Keogh, 31, has been a near ever-present in the Rams side since joining from Coventry City back in 2012.
During that time, he has been a highly consistent performer and that is demonstrated by his popularity amongst supporters, alongside two Player of the Year accolades and divisional recognition.
Davies, meanwhile, joined Derby last summer to add further experience to Gary Rowett’s squad.
The former Hull City defender, who turns 33 later this week, has started every Sky Bet Championship match so far this term alongside the Derby skipper.
From the off, they’ve struck up a good partnership.
Even in pre-season the signs were evident that the experienced duo had a good understanding between them.
Keogh has enjoyed a number of fruitful partnerships at the back during his time at the club, playing alongside the likes of Jake Buxton, Jason Shackell and Alex Pearce.
The Republic of Ireland international is thoroughly enjoying playing alongside Davies and is convinced that their strengths and weaknesses as a pair combine to make an impressive partnership.
Seventeen clean sheets have been recorded in Derby’s 37 league fixtures so far this term, which is an impressive return in the Championship.
Rowett has utilised his squad over the course of the season, for example switching the full-backs dependant on the type of game he is expecting, it’s no coincidence that Keogh and Davies are the first names on the team-sheet.
Speaking about the duo’s partnership, Keogh told RamsTV: “Curtis has been what I thought he would be to be honest because he’s a very good defender.
“We have different strengths and weaknesses and I think that they actually complement each other quite well.
“There are some things that he’s better than me at and likewise the other way around but that’s what a partnership is about.
“I think it has gone well for us so far. I have learnt things from him and I would like to think that he’s learnt from me and that I’ve helped bring his game on like he has for me.
“That’s the key to be a good team; you want to get the best out of each other and I think we’ve done that.”
Keogh believes Davies’ experience, both on and off the pitch, has been a welcome addition to the squad.
As several of the squad and Rowett have joked this season, he isn’t short of a word or two.
That isn’t a bad thing. Being vocal on and off the pitch is vitally important and, as an experienced player, has a big role to play.
Keogh feels his defensive partner, along with the likes of Tom Huddlestone and Cameron Jerome, have brought valuable know-how and presence to the squad this season.
He said: “I had played against Curtis in the past and I know he’s a good athlete, looks after himself and is a top professional.
“He has been good for the group. I think we did need a bit more experience and the manager brought that in with Curtis and Tom Huddlestone joining last summer.
“It’s good to have a voice like Curt’s around and we’re constantly talking on and off the pitch about how we can help the team.”
Derby’s dependable duo have over 1,000 games in club football between them.
Keogh racked up his 550th appearance in club football during Derby’s 0-0 draw at local rivals Nottingham Forest on Sunday.
Davies, meanwhile, made his 500th club outing in the previous fixture as the Rams drew 1-1 at Queens Park Rangers last Tuesday.
The pair still look to have plenty of years ahead of them and the Rams, as a result, have one of the most experienced backlines in the division.
Reflecting on the milestones, Keogh said: “To play 500 games in club football is an amazing achievement for any player.
“As I said when I passed that mark last season, it’s something you set out to achieve when you are a youngster.
“It’s a big number to hit and especially at this moment in time. I’m proud of what I’ve achieved and credit to Curtis too for what he has done.”