Graeme Shinnie has stressed that Derby County’s players have plenty of fight left in them despite a cruel 1-0 defeat at Sheffield United on Saturday afternoon.
A late penalty from Billy Sharp handed all three points to the home side after a spirited display from Wayne Rooney’s side looked to have been enough to earn a pint.
They had to play the final half an hour with ten men after goalkeeper Kelle Roos was sent off for a professional foul on Sharp as he burst towards the penalty area.
After falling behind on 89 minutes, Derby had a chance to equalise in injury time but skipper Tom Lawrence saw his close-range shot strike the post and bounce away.
The defeat rounded off a challenging week for the club off the field after it was formally placed into administration on Wednesday.
That news was then followed by a 12-point deduction by the EFL which saw the side drop to the bottom of the Sky Bet Championship table.
Despite the Rams facing a difficult period in their long and illustrious history, midfielder Shinnie says the fight and desire in the dressing room is there for everyone to see.
Talking to RamsTV shortly after the final whistle at Bramall Lane, he said: “We need that little bit of luck and with the situation that we’re in we were hoping to get that, but that’s football.
“We dug in and we fought for the whole game. It was always going to be a tough game coming here because they have a good squad after being in the Premier League, so we keep our heads held high.
“We fought and fought, we lost the late goal which is frustrating but we move on to a big week next week with two home games coming up.
“We will keep fighting for everything that we’ve got. The club is in the position that it’s in but we can’t do anything about it.
“The whole club and city is coming together and the bad situation has brought everyone together. The fans are right behind us, the fans are fighting with us, the staff are with us all the way and the manager has said that.
“He has said he’s here to fight with us and he won’t leave us on our own. The team on the pitch are fighting for the fans and for the club. We are all fighting for each other, for the people at the stadium and at the training ground, and all the Academy staff at the club. As players, all we can do is keep our focus, giving our all and fighting, and that’s what we’ll do.”
Shinnie added: “We won’t feel sorry for ourselves. We are in a hard position, but we will keep fighting. We have two big games at Pride Park now, as I just said, and we will focus on those now.”
Derby were backed by a sold out away end at Bramall Lane with 2,000 tickets quickly snapped up.
The travelling fans made their voices heard and Shinnie has made it clear that the squad value the support and know the hard-earned money supporters are paying to attend, and travel to, matches.
Shinnie said: “In the build-up to today, we knew our fans had sold out the first allocation and then the second set of tickets too.
“It doesn’t go missed with the players. The players see the fans and hear the fans at home who couldn’t get a ticket for the game.
“Everyone is fighting because they love this club and everyone is fighting to get this club through this period. We are hopeful that we can get through it. I’m pretty sure we will but as players, we will fight as hard as we can to try and keep a smile on the fans’ faces.”
Derby return to Championship action Wednesday night when they take on Reading under the Pride Park Stadium floodlights (7:45pm kick-off).