Craig Forsyth says Derby County’s players will not be resting on their laurels in the final two games of the season despite their play-off aspirations all-but over.
Derby’s 2-1 loss at Cardiff City in midweek means their hopes of a play-off finish are slim as they are six points adrift of the play-off spots with two games remaining.
The only way the Rams can finish in the top six is with a turnaround in goal difference and clubs above the Rams losing their remaining fixtures, as well as Derby claiming six points in their final two matches.
Phillip Cocu’s side face Leeds United at Pride Park Stadium on Sunday (2pm kick-off) in their final home game of the season - with the visitors already promoted and crowned as champions - but concluding their season at Birmingham City next Wednesday (7:30pm kick-off).
There is still plenty to play for according to Forsyth, with the Rams pushing to finish in the top half of the table.
Sunday’s meeting with Leeds, who currently top the table, will be another big test for the Rams and Marcelo Bielsa’s side had a top-two place confirmed on Friday after West Bromwich Albion's 2-1 defeat at Huddersfield Town on Friday.
Speaking to RamsTV, ahead of the game Forsyth said: “I don’t think you would say there’s any pressure off in the last two matches.
“We just have to focus on ourselves.
"We want to try to finish the season as strongly as we can.”
The Leeds and Birmingham matches will bring down the curtain on a season which was suspended for three months due to the COVID-19 pandemic and has been forced to be concluded behind-closed-doors.
Forsyth says playing competitive matches in empty stadiums has been an experience which has taken some getting used to.
He said: “The home games definitely feel a bit strange.
“There is no atmosphere and it’s very strange but it’s something where every team is in the same situation, so we’ve just got to get on with it.
“Hopefully, we can get the fans back in it as soon as possible.”
Forsyth, 31, has made 24 appearances in all competitions during the season.
He recovered from a third serious knee injury, sustained in November 2018, to return to the fold in the winter and establish himself in Cocu’s plans.
The left-sided defender has since signed a new contract which will run until the summer of 2022, which will take his association with the club until its ninth year.
Forsyth is keen to ensure he hits the ground running when preparations kick in for the 2020/21 campaign.
Reviewing the current campaign, Forsyth said: “Looking at my season, I would say it has been alright.
“The first half of the season was about me still building towards up my fitness and making sure everything was good to go with my knee.
“The first half was long and a bit frustrating but the second one playing wise has been a lot more positive.
“I feel as though I am getting there but I still think I can improve and that’s what my aim is for next season, to hit the ground running and get back to good form.”
Forsyth surpassed 300 games in club football during the 2019/20 campaign and has recorded 205 appearances in Derby colours.