Striker Lee Gregory was delighted to open his account for Derby County as the side picked up three valuable points on Saturday afternoon by defeating Middlesbrough 2-1 at Pride Park Stadium.
Gregory marked his full debut for the club with the opening goal of the game on 15 minutes, heading home from a well-executed corner routine.
And he had a hand in the second goal as well as he laid the ball off to Colin Kazim-Richards on the half hour mark, who fired an unstoppable effort into the net from distance.
Middlesbrough pulled a goal back late in the first half through Neeskens Kebano’s low strike, but Derby defended heroically in the second half to ensure they came away with the three points.
Gregory’s goal and assist will grab the headlines but his all-round play was also impressive. The striker was delighted with the win, which extended Derby’s winning run at home to three games, and lifted Wayne Rooney's side out of the relegation places.
“It doesn’t matter who scores, as long as we got the three points, that’s all that matters,” he told RamsTV. “I’m glad to get the goal today, I have to say.
“We should have had a few free-kicks before they scored, but that’s football. We were a bit sloppy at times but we defended well in the last 20 minutes. We showed how well we can defend and we got the win.”
Due to the postponement of last weekend's game at Barnsley, the Rams had an extended break to prepare for the clash against Boro.
It allowed the Rams time to work on their set piece routines, which worked to great effect, especially for the first goal.
“In training we have been working on me coming off the front post,” Gregory said.
“If it goes over my head then I spin back in. Luckily enough Lee Buchana managed to head it back across and I’ve got a simple header in. I was there in the right place, right time and it sat nicely.”
Rooney elected to line up with a 4-4-2 shape with Gregory partnering Kazim-Richards in attack. It’s a formation the Stoke City loanee is well accustomed to, having played in it for a lot of his career, and believes he linked up well with his strike partner.
“I have played most of my career in the 4-4-2 system and I found it comfortable,” he commented. “Colin is a great player to play alongside so I’m happy today; three points and we go again.
“With the game being called off last week, we had time to prepare so in training we’ve been doing the same thing every day.
“Colin has been around, knows the game and I know it as well so it works nicely. You work off each other and we both have that understanding and it worked today.”
The Rams now face a quick turnaround as they travel to Wycombe Wanderers on Tuesday night.
The Chairboys are currently bottom of the Sky Bet Championship but came from behind to beat Huddersfield Town at the John Smith’s Stadium on Saturday afternoon, so Gregory knows Derby will be in for a tough test.
“This league is nuts,” he concluded. “Each point is massive for us and it’s good to get three today. We go to Wycombe on Tuesday and hopefully we can get another three points there. They will have motivation from the win today. They are fighting and we will be ready.”