Midfielder Krystian Bielik is looking to close the gap between Derby County and the teams above them as they face local rivals Nottingham Forest on Saturday.
Phillip Cocu’s side sit 15th in the Sky Bet Championship table, however, that doesn’t particularly paint the full picture.
Only four points separates Derby with neighbours Forest, who sit in fifth position, and the Rams are currently nine points off leaders West Bromwich Albion with just under a third of the season played.
A win for the Rams in Saturday’s early kick-off, at 12:30pm, against Sabri Lamouchi’s could put them to within a point of their hosts and also close the gap on teams around them before the 3pm kick-offs.
With the November international break looming, Derby are looking to finish this set of fixtures with a victory over their nearest rivals.
Bielik, who was taken off as a precaution last week during the 2-0 victory over Middlesbrough at Pride Park Stadium, is already accustomed to big game fixtures and is relishing his first taste of the East Midlands derby.
“This is a big derby game,” he admitted. “A few boys have already said that is going to be a big and tough match.
“We will be prepared and ready. I have played in a lot of big games already and it’s going to be another important one.”
It’s a tight Sky Bet Championship table so far this season.
No side have set the early pace at the top of the table and there is a bunch of teams who will believe they have a chance of forcing their way into the top six this season.
The Rams are one of those sides and Bielik, who has made 14 appearances since joining from Arsenal in August, knows there are a lot of points still available to play for.
“Derby County is one of the biggest clubs in the Championship,” he said. “We need to be focused on what we do on the pitch and if we can do that we will climb the league.
“There are so many games in the Championship so the table can change massively between now and the end of the season. We are confident that we can be around the top six.
“Everything takes time. It is a new manager and new players as well so I think we are doing alright at the moment.
“There is always up and downs but I think when we get on a good run, we will go up the table again. We work hard on the training pitch to have a good run and hopefully it will come soon.”
Krystian Bielik was speaking to the Totally Football League Show podcast.