Phillip Cocu has challenged his Derby County players to make home advantage count this week.
Derby face Sheffield Wednesday and Millwall at Pride Park Stadium in the Sky Bet Championship in their final home fixtures before Christmas.
Garry Monk’s Owls will head to Pride Park on Wednesday evening (7:45pm kick-off), with former Rams boss Gary Rowett bringing his Lions side to town on Saturday afternoon (3pm kick-off).
Derby are unbeaten in eight on home turf, winning five and drawing three, and have tasted defeat just once in their ten home outings so far this term.
Playing back-to-back matches at Pride Park for the first time since August, Cocu has stressed the importance of grasping the opportunity to pick up momentum with both hands.
Speaking to RamsTV, the Derby boss said: “We have two games inside four days at Pride Park and it is a good opportunity for us to continue the positive streak we have in the home games.
“Of course, we will do everything in our power to get another home win on Wednesday night.
“If we can pull it off, it will help the fans to look forward to the Saturday game against Millwall.”
Looking ahead to another busy week of action, the 49-year-old added: “It is always about games from the point of view of the coaching staff.
“For myself, as a manager, sometimes it is good to have a bit more time on training, but players look forward to playing games every few days. It is positive to play a lot of games and I am looking forward to it.”
While Derby have been flying at home, their form on the road has been disappointing.
They have picked up one win from their ten away games this term, which came of the opening day of the campaign at Huddersfield Town.
Cocu believes Derby’s best football, alongside spirit and belief, has come at Pride Park and while he wants that to continue, he is determined to see the points return on the road improve.
After the successive home games, the Rams face back-to-back away clashes at Reading and Wigan Athletic either side of Christmas and Cocu wants to build up some momentum as they look to improve their away form.
When asked why Derby have been in good form at home, Cocu said: “I think it’s just the feeling of the players because they look forward to playing the home matches.
“The reaction and the support of the fans has been great and that always helps.
“It pushes the team forward and has influence on the opponent; they don’t like to come to Pride Park.
“We have to keep going forward and build the connection between the players and fans.”
He added: “In the home games this season we have shown much better football, better spirit and belief (compared to away games) so we’ve not seen a lot of changes in our approach from our side because they have been good in front of our fans.”