Wayne Rooney says there’s still plenty of belief in the Derby County dressing room about what can be achieved this season.

Derby return to Sky Bet Championship action on Tuesday night when they face Hull City at Pride Park Stadium (7:45pm kick-off).

Rooney’s side, who had the luxury of a rare weekend without a fixture after their fixture at Huddersfield Town was brought forward to last Wednesday because of their FA Cup commitments, will be looking to continue their impressive form on home turf against the Tigers.

Despite their 21-point deduction for entering administration and historical breaches of profitability and sustainability rules, the Rams remain in with a shout of clawing their way out of the bottom three.

Derby’s strong form, particularly on home turf, has seen them climb to within seven points of safety with 17 league matches left to play.

Rooney has insisted there’s plenty of belief that the Rams can achieve something special this term, but admits it is important to remain patient as they look to close the gap on the teams above them.

“Tuesday’s game is a big one for us,” Rooney told RamsTV. “Hull have been in good form and changed their manager recently, so they have switched their system slightly as a result.

“We need to be aware of that, but we have prepared really well. We know what we want to do and I really believe that if we play to our capabilities then we will win the game.”

“I think the players believe we can stay up and I believe in the players that they can do it.

“We are here to stay in this division this season and I feel we have a good chance. As I’ve said constantly, things aren’t going to change overnight; it’s going to take time and we must keep chipping away at the points of the teams ahead of us.

“We have to pick them off and it might be the last game of the season again, you never know, but all we have to keep doing is working, pick up points and give ourselves the best chance possible.”

Rooney’s squad has certainly been tested in recent weeks and that will be the case once again on Tuesday evening.

Injuries to several players in recent weeks, and departures in the January Transfer Window, have stretched the squad to its limit.

In addition, experienced defender Richard Stearman will start a three-match ban after being sent off in the early stages of the 2-0 loss at Huddersfield, while midfielder Ravel Morrison is coming to the end of his own three-game suspension.

Reviewing the latest injury news from the Rams camp, Rooney said: “The squad is what it has been in the last couple of games, apart from Richard Stearman being suspended.

“Ravel Morrison has come back now from being away with Jamaica, so he will serve the last game of his three-match ban.

“Max Bird is back fit but whether he starts or not we’re not sure; we’re just monitoring him, but he was a part of the session today.

“Krystian Bielik got through 45 minutes well at Huddersfield and he is available.

“Kamil Jozwiak is looking at eight to 12 weeks out with his ankle. He has seen a specialist and isn’t getting surgery, so we need to wait and see on his situation. It’s always one where you have to take it week by week but that will be a fair bit of time. Colin Kazim-Richards will probably be out for around four weeks, as well.”