Skipper Tom Lawrence is back in the Derby County squad following a three-match suspension and is raring to go as Saturday marks the first of 11 huge games remaining in the Rams’ Sky Bet Championship season.

Derby face Barnsley, who sit one place ahead of Wayne Rooney’s side, and a win will see them leapfrog their opponents in the division.

It’s been a tricky spell for Derby recently as they have suffered three defeats in a row, which have dented their hopes of staying in the division.

However, they still remain only eight points behind Reading, who occupy the place above the relegation places, despite suffering a 21-point deduction for entering administration and historical breaches.

Lawrence has missed the last three games following his dismissal against Peterborough United at Pride Park Stadium two weeks ago.

The Rams’ number 10 was allowed time off by Rooney to refresh his body and mind, but on his return, he worked hard to ensure he is in the best possible shape to be at his best in the final 11 games of the campaign.

“I have missed the last few games but I’m ready to go now,” he told RamsTV. “It’s been very tough watching from the sidelines but I made sure I’ve been doing the work off the pitch to make sure I’m ready when the Barnsley game comes around.

“From my personal point of view, I made a decision that I shouldn’t have made and I’ve not been able to help the team on the pitch.

“I need to do everything I can now to help the lads on the pitch, but they have been brilliant and have given everything every week and we will continue to do that until the end of the season.”

Barnsley have suffered a tough season themselves, despite reaching the play-off places last season, having spent the majority of the campaign in the relegation places.

In recent weeks, however, their form has picked up following and have won three of their last four games which have moved them above the Rams in the table.

Lawrence knows the Rams cannot take their opponents for granted, but is concentrated on picking up a positive result on Saturday.

“We know we need to win every game, realistically,” he said. “If you would have asked us to be in this position with 21 points taken off then we would have taken it but we need to start winning games now to give ourselves a proper chance.

“They are one place ahead of us so we need to keep winning games, go on a little run now and that will put us in the mix.

“We need to go into the game with a positive mindset and it’s like I’ve said, each one we play now it is vital that we win.

“I thought the game against Cardiff City on Tuesday, we performed well but we just couldn’t get the goal and ended up losing 1-0. We had the chances but hopefully we can get the goals on Saturday.”

“Every time you lose a game at home it’s never nice, especially in front of the home fans,” Lawrence commented. “If we can get back to winning ways on Saturday then it will be a big boost.

“I’ve said it from day one, the supporters have been a massive help for us. They have given us everything.

“That platform that we needed when we’ve struggled a little bit, they have given us that boost and I’m sure they will be the same on Saturday.

“If you see every day in training, everyone is fighting and wants it. We will give everything to make these fans happy.”