Central defender Curtis Davies believes home form will be key as Derby County host Middlesbrough in the Sky Bet Championship on Saturday afternoon (3pm kick-off).
The Rams are on a rich vein of form at Pride Park Stadium, earning nine points from a possible nine in their last three home fixtures.
Whilst form on the road needs to improve, Derby’s home form has been impressive.
The victories over Birmingham City, Luton Town and Wigan Athletic have instilled confidence, but Davies knows Middlesbrough will be difficult opposition, despite their slow start to the campaign.
Jonathan Woodgate is the new man at the helm at the Riverside Stadium, replacing Tony Pulis who departed in the summer.
However, they have so far struggled to recreate the form in which saw them almost reach the Champioship's play-offs for the second season in a row last term.
They sit in the relegation places heading into this weekend’s clash and are winless in seven, but the Davies isn't taking anything for granted.
“It is our job to win games of football and we can’t feel sorry for anyone else,” Davies commented, speaking to RamsTV. “No matter what reputations people have as players, no matter what reputation clubs have, we are here to win games and we need to keep pushing up the table because our home form is going to be vital.
“We need to keep winning home games to give us the confidence that when we go away, ‘come on, let's start again and get the win’.
“Jonathan Woodgate has come in after Tony Pulis has been there for a few years and I know from what you read that Middlesbrough fans were a bit despondent with the way Tony Pulis used to do things.
“I think at the moment they are slowly trying to find where they are and what their balance is. I think Jonathan Woodgate, as top-class central defender, has probably gone back to more of a defensive side and is trying to get those clean sheets so it allows his team to stay in games.”
Derby’s upturn in form at home has coincided with the return of the central defender to the starting XI.
He returned for the fixture against his former club Birmingham at the end of September and since then, the Rams have won three successive games at Pride Park.
“Some of the performances haven’t been particularly pretty,” Davies admitted.
“We dominated against Luton Town in the first half and in the second half we had the lead, got another one and we were able to sit back and soak up a little bit of the pressure without them doing too much.
“The Wigan game was a game we dominated without creating too much. It was a character-building performance because we ground it out until the last minute.
“With me having broken my nose, it was the biggest relief that we got that win because it was almost like it was worth it. You stay on the pitch and a point from a game where you dominate like that, it is highly frustrating.
“We were able to get through in the 92nd minute and ended up winning it, especially through Graeme Shinnie whose right leg is for standing on rather than kicking the ball! It was a great strike.
“We need to follow that up with another good performance and hopefully a good performance will lead to a win.”