Martyn Waghorn’s return to the Derby County side in recent matches has seen the frontman find the net in the back-to-back draws against Nottingham Forest and Cardiff City.
Waghorn, 30, missed the opening stages of the campaign with a calf injury but has featured in the Rams’ last three fixtures after returning to full fitness.
The striker returned to the starting line-up against Forest and Cardiff and found the back of the net in both matches, which finished in 1-1 draws, direct from free-kicks from the edge of the box.
Waghorn, who also scored from a set-play against Queens Park Rangers in the 2019/20 season, says dead-ball situations are something he has focussed his attention on in training of late.
He’s pleased to see the hard work paying off, but with fellow dead-ball specialists Wayne Rooney and Tom Lawrence vying for an opportunity to showcase their quality when the chance comes along.
Speaking to Talksport’s Ian Abrahams, Waghorn said: “I wouldn’t say I’m a free-kick expert, but it was nice to score another on Wednesday.
“Both free-kicks have been in two good areas for myself and it has been a huge thing lately between me, Loz (Tom Lawrence) and Wayne (Rooney).
“There is just a bit of competition and we do a lot of work on set plays. We know it is a big part of the game and a real opportunity.
“Thankfully for myself, I’ve got two in two. Practice has paid off at the minute and I am taking the rewards for it, which is nice.”
Waghorn added: “We know there is room to improve and that we need to score from open play and that is something we are trying to address.”
Derby are back on the road this weekend when they travel to recently relegated AFC Bournemouth on Saturday.
After the successive draws against Forest and Cardiff, Waghorn says the game is an opportunity to build on the encouraging recent performances.
Derby’s start to the 2020/21 Sky Bet Championship campaign has been slow, but one win and two draws from the last five matches has offered signs that the Rams are moving in the right direction.
After the trip south to Bournemouth, Derby face home games against Queens Park Rangers and Barnsley before the November international break comes into play.
Waghorn has stressed the Rams’ players need to maintain belief in themselves that results will come their way in the near future.
“We know in this league nobody is going to just give us three points,” he said.
“In the grand scheme of things, you look back at an away game at Forest and a home fixture against Cardiff and think, against two big teams, you can be happy with a point in each game.
“Where we are and where we want to be, we know that ultimately we have potentially dropped four points from the way that we have played.
“For us, it is now about seeing out games and having that belief in ourselves. Do not get me wrong, we do know we need to score more goals too.
“If we had scored a second or a third then we would have killed the game and got the three points.
“The recent draws have been a start, we know we have to improve and what we have got to improve on and we have to build on that going forward because the fixtures keep on coming.”
Previewing Saturday’s game at Bournemouth, Waghorn added: “We know it is going to be a difficult game, but this league throws many curveballs week-in-week-out.
“If we can put some real pressure on them, then no team is unbeatable. We have got to believe in ourselves and believe in what we are trying to do and take the game to them.”