Defender Lee Buchanan is determined to keep the feel-good factor going as Derby County make the trip north to face Middlesbrough on Saturday afternoon (3pm kick-off).
The Rams travel to the Riverside Stadium to take on Chris Wilder’s side looking to build on Tuesday’s 3-1 victory over Hull City at Pride Park Stadium.
Craig Forsyth headed home his second goal of the season to open the scoring, whilst Tom Lawrence and Festy Ebosele also got their names on the scoresheet either side of half-time on what turned out to be a comfortable evening for Wayne Rooney’s side.
The win moved Derby to within only four points of Reading in the table, who occupy the position just outside of the relegation places in the Sky Bet Championship.
It has also provided renewed optimism amongst the squad and supporters that Derby can avoid relegation and overhaul the 21-point deduction incurred for entering administration and for historical breaches of profitability and sustainability rules.
Boro are the Rams’ next opponents and they have enjoyed an upturn in results following the appointment of Wilder.
But, Buchanan knows that all focus is on Derby and how they can impact the game.
“We just have to keep playing like we have been,” he told RamsTV. “The way the gaffer wants us to play, if we keep doing that and stick to the way we know we can, we are confident that we can cause every team in this division a problem.
“It will be a tough game on Saturday but we know that if we go there, play as well as we can with the confidence that we’ve got from the last few games, then we can get a positive result.”
On a personal note, it’s been a stop-start campaign for the defender so far.
After two spells out on the sidelines with injury, he has had to remain patient for a sustained run in the side.
Predominantly a left back, Buchanan has made the move to centre back in recent games following the suspension of Richard Stearman who was given a three-match ban following his red card against Huddersfield Town last week.
The Academy graduate has found it frustrating being on the sidelines but is keen to make up for lost time in the final 16 matches of the season.
“It has been frustrating, especially with the second injury in my knee,” he admitted.
“I did it in the last couple of minutes of the Bournemouth game in November and with it being the knee, there isn’t a lot you can do about it other than wait to get fit and be back out there; so it has been frustrating.
“I’m happy to be back now and I feel fit and as good as I have been so hopefully that can continue.”
It’s been two-and-a-half years since Buchanan burst on to the scene and scored on his debut in a Carabao Cup victory against Scunthorpe United in August 2019.
The defender has been through a lot during his relatively short period in the first-team environment, but he certainly feels this can be a special year for the club.
“It feels different to the two seasons that I have been a part of previously,” he said. “I think we feel more together, especially with the situation we are in, that’s probably why we are a lot closer than we have been previously.
“As you can see, we are getting big crowds home and away and hopefully that can continue. With the positive results most of the time this season, the fans keep singing, cheering us on and even when we are losing, they are still there helping us through it so they’ve been a huge help this season.”