Midfielder Duane Holmes believes Derby County are close to reaching the high standards that they have set themselves - but knows the Rams' away form needs to improve as the business end of the season approaches.
The Rams’ form at Pride Park Stadium has been a shining light this season and Phillip Cocu's side boast the second-best home record in the division.
However, Derby's form on the road is an area which still needs improvement. Derby’s last away victory in the league came on the opening weekend of the season in the 2-1 victory over Huddersfield Town.
Since then, away victories have only followed in the cup competitions as the Rams beat Scunthorpe United in the First Round of the Carabao Cup in August and Chris Martin’s goal secured an FA Cup Third Round victory against Premier League side Crystal Palace last month.
With the Rams facing Swansea City in the Sky Bet Championship on Saturday afternoon, Holmes believes the tide is now turning and it’s only a matter of time before they claim an away win.
“We know our away form isn’t good enough,” he admitted, chatting to RamsTV ahead of the game.
“The home form is one of the best in the league and if we had a better away record, it goes without saying that we would be a lot closer to where we should be and we know we need to put it right and we are working hard to do that.
“Maybe it is a mental block now and we need to get over it quickly. We know we are not far off where we want to be and that is the big contributing factor that our away form isn’t where it wants to be. If it was then we would be up there so we know we need to put it right.”
Derby head into Saturday’s game against Steve Cooper’s side in good form, having only lost one of their last 10 games in all competitions.
Last Friday's convincing 4-0 victory over Stoke City showed that the Rams are displaying some of their best football this season, and that was backed up on Tuesday night as they netted another four goals against Northampton Town in an Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round replay to progress through to the Fifth Round to set up a tie with Manchester United.
“It’s a long old season and we are not a million miles off it,” Holmes said. “We have showed what a good team we are and that we can beat anyone but it’s just about performing now.
“Sometimes our performances away from home have been good but we just haven’t got the result and other times we have just not been good enough so we need to put that right and we are working hard to do that.”