Manager Frank Lampard believes tomorrow’s Sky Bet Championship clash against Aston Villa will be a tough encounter - but he is aiming to go into the international break and end this block of fixtures on a high.
Lampard’s side have been in scintillated form recently, but they face a tricky test against Dean Smith’s Aston Villa tomorrow afternoon (3pm kick-off).
The Rams have won three and drawn one of their four games since the October international break and the manager hopes his side can end this period with another positive result..
“We are in good form and have picked up some good results but it will only be as good as how we finish the patch of games,” Lampard told RamsTV.
“Aston Villa is a very tough game for us on paper, they are a good team and have a good new management team. They have individuals that can hurt us but we have been playing well and we are confident so we have to bring that tomorrow.
“They are a huge name, huge club with great history and a new manager and assistant manager who I know very well. They will make changes to them. They are a work-in-progress, as we are here, but you’re seeing the benefits of that.
“They have had some good performances since they have come in. Individually they can really hurt teams because they’ve got good players in forward areas. Even their bench has good players in forward areas so we need to be aware of their threats.
“Dean Smith sets his teams up very well. He is an attack-minded coach and he wants good aggressive football from his team and I’m sure he will be making that imprint at Aston Villa.
“It means nothing that we’ve beaten him here before (3-1 win during his time at Brentford in September). Now he has different players and there are a lot of individual threats. Once Dean gets them playing the way he wants them to play, then I expect them to be towards the top of the table.”
In terms of team news, the manager revealed he will be missing two players from tomorrow’s matchday squad.
“It’s come too soon for Mason Mount,” he admitted. “He has been fighting to get fit, first of all for us, not England, and he hasn’t been able to make it but we have a bit of a break to try and get him fit.
“Craig Bryson is still out and not quite where we want him to be so for them the international break has come at a good time.”
There is set to be a bumper crowd at Pride Park Stadium tomorrow afternoon.
Aston Villa have sold their entire allocation and Derby fans have also purchased in their numbers.
It is set to go near the 30,000 mark tomorrow afternoon and the manager believes the fans can really play their part.
“It adds to the atmosphere and it makes our fans sit up and take notice and they were here in big numbers last week,” he said. “You see the influence the fans have. Of course the performance has to get the fans going but it can be both ways.
“When we need them they are there, and hopefully we are here to entertain them and get them going. If we get that bond and the fans appreciate the effort the lads are trying to put in then it really helps. We are thankful and hopefully we can go again tomorrow.”