Wayne Rooney says Derby County’s players need to be ready to go again as they look to build on the much-needed 2-0 home win over Luton Town on Good Friday.
Derby will face play-off hopefuls Reading at the Madejski Stadium on Easter Monday (3pm kick-off) as the 2020/21 Sky Bet Championship season edges towards its conclusion.
The victory over Luton was the Rams’ first in seven matches and was confirmed thanks to goals from Lee Gregory and Graeme Shinnie.
Derby sit eight points clear of the bottom three with seven of their own matches left to play and Rooney wants his side to be focussed and ready for the next challenge.
Speaking to RamsTV after the win over Luton, Rooney said: “It is another tough game for us and we have to be ready to go again.
“Reading are a good team, so we have to prepare well and be ready for the challenge.
“We have to make sure we are focused on trying to get three points again.”
Rooney elected to bring experienced goalkeeper David Marshall back into the starting XI against Luton.
The 36-year-old sustained a back injury in mid-February and when he returned to fitness, Rooney opted to stick with Kelle Roos between the posts after some impressive displays.
However, the Derby boss felt it was the right time to bring Marshall back into the fold after appearing in two FIFA World Cup qualifiers with Scotland during the international break.
“It was a very difficult decision,” Rooney explained.
“Kelle has done really well when he has played for us, but I really wanted to go back to a bit earlier in the season when we were keeping clean sheets and weren’t conceding so many chances.
“I felt it was harsh on Kelle because he has done well, but it was a tough decision that I had to make.”
He added: “I think the two games for Scotland would have helped Marshy.
“He missed a few games before the international break, he came back having played in the two and made some very important saves against Luton.”