Manager Frank Lampard is relishing a return to Stamford Bridge to face his former side Chelsea in the fourth round of the Carabao Cup and believes his players must embrace the challenge.
The Rams reached this stage of the competition following away wins at Oldham Athletic and Hull City before beating Premier League side Manchester United on penalties.
Derby dominated the ball for large parts at Old Trafford and were unfortunate not to win the game in 90 minutes. Their performance was hailed as one of the best Derby displays in several years and Lampard hopes his players can replicate that form and stand up to another test at Stamford Bridge
“It’s a nice occasion for me, it’s a nice story and nice emotions around it personally, but the great test is for the players,” he said. “We came through the Manchester United game so well with a mixture of the younger players and the experienced players and to go and perform at Old Trafford like we did is a credit to them.
“It is a similar occasion for them to go to Stamford Bridge and give a good account of ourselves whatever the result may be. It’s a very tough game for us to win again but I think the test for the players against such a fantastic team is going to be a great one for them.
“We know that our performance has to be top class to have any chance in the game so that’s the standard we need to set and keep up with it.
“If we can replicate that performance then we have a chance but with teams like Chelsea and Manchester United, they have top world class players that sometimes take the game away from you.
“I will be happy with us if we go there and give a good account of ourselves, show the work ethic, show the quality that we have and show the courage like we did against Manchester United. We want to make it a nice occasion for ourselves and our travelling fans.”
Chelsea and Stamford Bridge hold many memories for Lampard and he is looking forward to a return.
“It will be very special to go back to Stamford Bridge,” Lampard added. “It was my home and my club for 13 years and the opportunity go back and see the fans and the people behind the scenes is an incredible occasion for me.
“It’s a club that took me in. I moved across London from a so-called rival and they took me in instantly. I was fortunate enough to spend successful years there and it was a family. It still feels that way but the club moves on.
“I think they’ve got a very good manager in Maurizio Sarri and I respect him. I had a conversation with him in pre-season and I think they’re in good hands with him as a manager. It will be a pleasure to go up against him personally and it will also be a pleasure to go back to Stamford Bridge.”
The tie will be played week commencing 29th October and ticket details will be released in due course.