Liam Rosenior says there is a real team spirit and ethic in Derby County’s squad as they prepare for the final five games of the 2019/20 Sky Bet Championship season.
Derby extended their unbeaten run in the league to six matches with a 1-1 draw against local rivals Nottingham Forest on Saturday.
Joe Lolley’s first-half strike looked to have been enough for the Reds, but Chris Martin equalised deep into added time to earn Phillip Cocu’s side a point.
Derby had won their five previous league outings prior to the meeting with Forest to continue their fine run of form in the second half of the season.
Since reaching the halfway stage of the season in late December, Cocu’s side has picked up ten wins and five draws from their 18 Championship matches.
That form has edged Derby into play-off contention.
They face, on paper, a challenging run-in against automatic promotion chasers Leeds United, West Bromwich Albion and Brentford, as well as play-off contenders Cardiff City.
First up is a trip to the Hawthorns to take on West Brom on Wednesday afternoon (5pm kick-off).
Rosenior, who holds the position of Specialist First Team Coach on Cocu’s backroom team, believes there are plenty of reasons to be positive ahead of the run-in.
“Psychologically it is huge,” Rosenior told RamsTV when asked about the impact of Derby’s late equaliser against Forest.
“It gives you really good momentum, focus and confidence and we are going to need those things in the upcoming games because we do have a tough run in.
“We are playing a superb West Bromwich Albion team on Wednesday who have just beaten Hull City 4-2 and look like they are going to be part of that top two, but we are confident in our own ability and the way that we are playing.
“A lot has been said about our form since the turn of the year, so we have to remember that we are a real contender in this league at the moment and we need to have faith in the way that we play.”
Reflecting on the draw against Forest, Rosenior felt the Rams were rewarded for their perseverance.
The visitors had chances to extend their lead, but Derby stayed in the game and Martin snapped up the opportunity to keep the side’s unbeaten run going.
Rosenior felt Martin’s goal, which came from a free-kick won by substitute Morgan Whittaker, encapsulated the fact that everyone in the squad has a part to play.
He said: “The moment that we equalised on Saturday would have been better with 30,000 Derby County fans in the stadium; but it is as close to pure euphoria in a behind-closed-doors game.
“You could see what it meant to players and you could see what it meant to the staff to get that goal. We were running around all on the pitch as coaching staff celebrating because we care about this club.
“It was a really difficult game on Saturday. I think you have to give Nottingham Forest credit because the way that they play, they sit back and have so much pace on the counter attack and they created a few chances in the second half from that but we kept going.
“That’s something that I really thought we improved at this season, our resilience and determination.”
He added: “There is a real team spirit and team ethic and I think that it was encapsulated in Morgan Whittaker coming on, winning the free kick and not giving up on the lost cause.
“He was chasing the ball that he was 30-yards away from, wins us the free kick and we get the goal from it. It is a squad game and there is a real team ethic, and hopefully it gets us to where we want to be at the end of the season.”