Liam Rosenior has heaped praise on Derby County’s senior players for their key influence both on and off the pitch this season.

In the most testing set of circumstances across the 2021/22 campaign so far, with Derby deducted 21 points by the EFL, the Rams’ squad have fought valiantly against relegation from the Sky Bet Championship.

The first points deduction, totalling to 12, came in September after the club entered administration while a further nine followed in November for a historic breach of profitability and sustainability rules.

As a result of the situation the Rams have found themselves in, manager Wayne Rooney’s squad has been threadbare for most of the season and several youngsters have stepped up from the club’s Academy over the term.

The likes of Eiran Cashin, Liam Thompson, Luke Plange and Malcolm Ebiowei have stepped up in recent months while Academy graduates Max Bird, Jason Knight, Louie Sibley, Lee Buchanan and Festy Ebosele have been mainstays in the squad throughout the season.

Alongside those youngsters have been a number of experienced senior professionals in the dressing room to guide the Rams’ squad through a testing period.

Curtis Davies, Richard Stearman, Craig Forsyth and Colin Kazim-Richards are all in their mid-30s to offer significant know-how, while captain Tom Lawrence, Nathan Byrne and Ryan Allsop also offer vital experience.

Assistant manager Rosenior, who spoke to the media following Derby’s 2-0 home win over Barnsley on Saturday, was full of praise for the Rams’ senior players for their efforts throughout the season.

“They’re rocks for us,” Rosenior told RamsTV when asked about their impact.

“Craig Forsyth missed out on a place in the squad on Saturday, but he’s key for us in terms of the dressing room.

“Colin Kazim-Richards and Richard Stearman were on the bench and, although they didn’t come on, they were shouting encouragement and there is a real team ethic and spirit here which is something which we’ve tried to create.

“What’s great for the young players we have here is that there are fantastic role models in the dressing room.

“I can’t speak highly enough of Curtis Davies as a player, and as a man, and he has been a rock for us all season.”

Rosenior concluded: “I just hope we get our just rewards at the end of the season.”

Following their victory over Barnsley at the weekend, the Rams are five points adrift of safety in the Championship ahead of their back-to-back trips to AFC Bournemouth on Saturday (3pm kick-off) and Blackburn Rovers next Tuesday (7:45pm kick-off).