Max Bird has described Derby County’s Sky Bet Championship fixture against Nottingham Forest this weekend as ‘another challenge’ for the side to tackle head on.
Derby and Forest will go head-to-head at Pride Park Stadium on Saturday afternoon (12:30pm kick-off) in front of the Sky Sports cameras.
The local derby is, usually, played before packed crowds but because of the COVID-19 outbreak all matches between now the end of the campaign must be played behind-closed-doors.
But, with both sides vying for a play-off finish, there is plenty still riding on the game.
Derby have won five games in a row to move to within a point of the top six, after a slow start to the season, while Forest have been in the promotion race for much of the season.
Academy graduate Bird, who is 19, believes the Rams’ 1-0 win at Preston North End was another big step in the right direction.
Six games remain in the regular league campaign for Derby and five of those are against sides above them in the table.
They are games that Bird and the rest of the Rams’ squad are looking forward to.
Speaking to Sky Sports after the win at Preston, Bird said: “We have more big games coming up, so it’s a big step in the right direction.
“It was very important for us to hit the ground running (after the three-month break in the season) and it has given us a chance to push for the play-offs.
“Now we have Forest on Saturday and it will be a first local derby for me and some of the other young lads.
“It’s an important match; it’s a rivalry and they are in a good position in the table. It’s another challenge for us to try and beat another team above us in the table.”
Bird has been a regular in the Derby midfield in the second half of the season and has made 21 appearances in all competitions during the campaign.