Wayne Rooney believes Derby County face another ‘big week’ in the Sky Bet Championship as they prepare for back-to-back home fixtures.
Derby face Huddersfield Town and local rivals Nottingham Forest under the Pride Park Stadium floodlights inside the space of four days.
First up is the visit of Carlos Corberán’s Huddersfield on Tuesday night (7pm kick-off), before Forest, managed by Chris Hughton, will travel across the East Midlands on Friday evening (7:45pm kick-off).
Rooney’s side sit 19th in the table and an impressive run of form under the 35-year-old has taken them out of the bottom three and five points clear of 22nd place with 16 matches remaining.
Huddersfield and Forest are just two points ahead of Derby in a congested bottom-end of the Championship, providing the opportunity for the side to take points from teams around them.
Rooney says his side can make the big week a good one - as long as they do the right things on the pitch.
“These are big games and ones that we know, if we do our jobs right, we are capable of winning,” Rooney told RamsTV.
“But also, if we are complacent, and we don’t do well in how we set up and our jobs then we can lose points in them as well.
“We will be ready; we have prepared well and it is a big week again for us in terms of trying to get six points.”
On Tuesday’s opponents, who defeated Swansea City 4-1 on Saturday to claim their first victory of 2021, Rooney added: “It was a good win for them against Swansea and it will be a tough game.
“They set up man-to-man and try to make it difficult and get in your face, so we have to play our game. We have planned well and we will be ready for the challenge.”
Derby go into the meeting with the Terriers looking for a quickfire response to Friday night’s narrow 2-1 loss at promotion chasing Watford.
Two goals inside three minutes at the midway point of the half saw the Rams chasing the game and Rooney was pleased with the way his side reacted against a side gunning for automatic promotion.
Derby fought back into the game and had the Hornets desperately hanging on in the final minutes at Vicarage Road.
“I’m still obviously disappointed with the result, but I think we showed enough in the game to move forward and I believe and know we are a good team,” Rooney said when asked about his reflections a few days on.
“I am pleased the next match has come around fairly quickly and it is a chance for us to pick up more points.
“I was disappointed in the manner of the two goals we conceded in the space of a few minutes, but the reaction towards the end of the first half and throughout the second half was good.
“We kept pushing, pulled a goal back and I think on another day we would come away with a point.”