Gary Rowett has called on Derby County to recreate the memorable performance they produced in the East Midlands derby earlier this season when they travel to the City Ground to face Nottingham Forest on Sunday.
Matej Vydra struck inside just 24 seconds when the two sides met at Pride Park Stadium back in October, with David Nugent sealing the points with a clinical finish after the break.
Rowett identified the display as a key moment in the season so far, with Derby lifting themselves from the bottom half of the table into promotion contention in the weeks and months following the victory.
He told RamsTV: “It felt like a big game, we were at home and we desperately needed a win.
“I think we were below them in the table at the time, and we’re now 10 places higher and 17 points ahead so that shows how strong we have been since that point.
“It was a big performance and result, and it was a big springboard to where we are now.”
The Rams have been on a difficult run of form recently, but Rowett explained why he thinks that the game has come around at a good time
He said: “This game is equally as important because we know that our last six results aren’t good enough.
“I could sit here and say that we have lost two games in 17 but the reality is that we have to win games.
“We need to show spirit when we haven’t got the ball, we need the energy and drive that the fans want to see in a local derby, but we’ve also got to make sure that the game and our recent form doesn’t stop us from playing with confidence when we attack.
“It’s a good moment in the season to play the game because the players shouldn’t need any motivation.”
The Rams will be backed by a sold-out away end at the City Ground, and Rowett is looking for his players to provide the sort of performance that will lead to a vociferous atmosphere.
He said: “Hopefully, everybody can watch the game and get home safely and we hope that the Derby fans enjoy it more than the Forest fans.
“They have supported us really well, we had a great following at Reading and QPR and they got behind the team.
“The team have to give the fans something to shout about, we did in the home game and our aim is to give them another afternoon like that.”