Richard Keogh believes Derby County are in a good place and have built a solid base to work from at the start of the 2019/20 Sky Bet Championship campaign.
The Rams were held to a goalless draw in their opening game of the campaign at Pride Park Stadium by Swansea City, despite dominating in possession and looking pacey on the attack.
A missed penalty just before the break, with Martyn Waghorn seeing his spot-kick saved by Freddie Woodman, and difficulty to produce in the final third saw Phillip Cocu’s side have to settle for a point.
The Rams’ captain, who made his 350th appearance for the club against the Swans, felt it was a promising performance by the team,who had a shorter pre-season than most due to reaching the Play-Off Final last season, and are also under the guidance of a new manager.
“Someone mentioned it before the game and it has gone by so quick,” Keogh said of his achievement after the final whistle when speaking to RamsTV.
“To play that many games at such a great club is a fantastic achievement. It would have been nice to get the three points, but I will take the clean sheet."
He added: “We got into a lot of good situations, but we weren’t quite clinical enough in the final third. But this group hasn’t been together long. Jamie Paterson has only been here a couple of days and he looked bright and sharp when he came on.
“The more we play together and train together, we are going to find that sharpness. For where we are at the moment, it is credit to everyone.
“It has been a short pre-season and to get four points and to play like we have done is promising.”
Another new addition to the squad, Matt Clarke, has been Keogh’s partner in the heart of the defence for the first two games of the season.
The Republic of Ireland international is enjoying working with the on-loan Brighton & Hove Albion centre-back and has praised what he brings to the team.
“I am enjoying it with Matt Clarke,” the centre-back said.
“He is a great guy and he offers really good balance on the left and makes it a little bit harder for teams to press us because naturally he is good on the ball too and can bring out, so it gives us some more options.
“We''ve had two games together so far and it is looking pretty strong.”
The Rams have a brief break from league action with a trip to Scunthorpe United on Tuesday night in the First Round of the Carabao Cup.
After reaching the Fourth Round in the competition last season, Keogh is hoping a win will keep extend the unbeaten run to start the season and build confidence in the squad that they can take back into league action with a trip to Stoke City next weekend.
“Winning games builds confidence,” he continued. “It builds confidence in the team and in individuals and help lads find form.
“We are two unbeaten at the moment and we want to keep that going. We have got a great squad, I think it is really settled now and we have got the bodies that we needed.
“We still have a few to come back, Krystian Bielik is looking great in training so once we get all our bodies fit, I like where we are at and I am excited for the season.”