Shay Given says Derby County have a strong desire to maintain their interest in this season’s Carabao Cup beyond Tuesday night’s Second Round tie against Preston North End (6:30pm kick-off).
Derby will take on their Sky Bet Championship rivals on home turf as they look to reach the Third Round of the competition, with a home tie against Premier League Brighton & Hove Albion or League 1 Portsmouth the prize on offer for the winners at Pride Park Stadium.
Phillip Cocu’s side progressed past the First Round stage with a penalty shoot-out victory over League 2 side Barrow AFC earlier this month, following a 0-0 draw in normal time.
Given, who is the Rams’ Head Goalkeeping Coach, says Derby want to show an immediate response to Saturday’s 2-0 opening league fixture loss at home to Reading.
The 44-year-old says the Rams want to enjoy a positive run of form in the Carabao Cup and use it as a platform to enjoy a positive season in the Championship.
“In any game in any competition, you want to win it,” Given told RamsTV. “That is the bottom line, you want to win and move on to the next game.
“If we can do that, then it means everyone would come in on Wednesday and Thursday in a really good mood, in a positive frame of mind ahead of our game at Luton on Saturday in the league, and change the feeling we had after Saturday against Reading.
“That is just the natural human nature side of losing a game of football, you feel disappointed. We want to bounce back now; we want to beat Preston and we want to move on to the next round.”
He added: “We have to get on some sort of roll and be consistent throughout the season. The games are going to come thick and fast - normally the Championship is quite hectic as it is and now this season is going to be even more hectic.
“That is why the squad will be important both in the league and in the cups and we have to use that as best we can to get the results we want.”
Derby did the double over their opponents last season courtesy of two 1-0 wins.
Martyn Waghorn scored the only goal at Pride Park last November, while skipper Wayne Rooney netted direct from a free-kick at Deepdale in July in what was the Rams’ third behind-closed-doors fixture following the resumption of the season in June.
Given understands Cocu’s side will face a tough test against Preston, who finished ninth in the table last term and two points ahead of Derby – but is confident they can make home advantage, albeit with no fans, count.
“Preston are not too dissimilar to when we played them in July and they have the same manager as well,” Given said.
“We have watched some stuff over the last couple of days and at times they have been a bit more direct than maybe last season, when they looked to build a lot from the back and through the different thirds.
“It is the early part of the season and we have to be wary of that. Alex Neil has done a great job as manager there, they had a good season last year, and it is not going to be an easy game.
“That is what we need, we need to be competitive and get up to speed. The games help you to get up to your maximum speed and get prepared for the Championship as well. We use it for that too, but we want to win the game and move on to the next round.”
He added: “I know the fans aren’t there to help us, but at least we have the surroundings of being at home, such as the home changing room and the pitch we all know really well, so hopefully we can use that as an advantage.
“We are all raring to go now for Preston.”