Derby County Assistant Head Coach Richie Barker believes Tuesday night's meeting with Fleetwood Town is a good opportunity to 'keep momentum going' when they enter the knockout stages of the Bristol Street Motors Trophy.

The Rams go into the Round of 32 tie, after winning Northern Section - Group G with three wins from three, off the back of four successive victories in Sky Bet League One and Barker wants that form to continue into the cup at Pride Park Stadium (7pm kick-off).

Speaking to RamsTV ahead of the match, Barker spoke about a rare free weekend and previewed the meeting with Lee Johnson's side.

On having a free weekend...

I actually ended up going to watch Worthing against Chippenham because I cannot bare sitting in the house on a Saturday afternoon!

Hammy and Andy Warrington went to watch York City against Wigan Athletic on Friday evening in the FA Cup and then we woke up on Saturday morning and most games we were going to watch in person were all off.

On Sunday we were in for training and then myself and the gaffer shot off to watch Chesterfield against Leyton Orient in the FA Cup. Had the weather been better we'd have been watching more games live but because of that it led to just trying to find a game.

On watching teams live...

From my point of view it's vital that if you can, you watch teams live. We were lucky that Leyton Orient were playing at Chesterfield on Sunday as normally we don't have that luxury as most teams play when we do and we have to watch it on the computer.

From a player recruitment point of view, the more you can see a player live is really important in terms of little things like body language, how they are in the warm-up, work ethic off the ball and all of that kind of stuff.

On how the squad are looking...

The lads had a couple of days off on Friday and Saturday because we wanted to come in on Sunday. We came in to a good four or five inches of snow which was a little disruptive, but we managed to get a good session in and we got out there today in the wind and rain. After having a couple of days off they've come back pretty refreshed and chomping at the bit.

On the injury situation...

We're as we were. We had around 15 or something players training today so the lads are looking really good.

On Tyreece John-Jules...

We have to be very careful with him. In an ideal world we'd like to throw him in but we've worked so hard to get him in where he is now. He played one or two games before his latest injury and what we don't want to be doing is going back through that again.

It showed on Tuesday evening at Port Vale that we need everyone and we don't know who it's going to be. Having different options and being able to rotate and make those important substitutions, he's part of that. We need to ensure that the last couple of months don't go to waste by just throwing him in. In terms of starting games, it still could be a while away.

We need to get him more robust in training and we have to take our time with him.

On the Bristol Street Motors Trophy...

We want to do well in it. We want to keep the momentum going and have a run in it but obviously we are aware that we have a game coming up on Saturday as well at Leyton Orient. It goes straight to penalties too which is a massive lottery, so ideally we want the job done in 90 minutes.

I think people are taking the Trophy a little more seriously over the last couple of years. If you look at the teams they are putting out, a few years ago it was predominantly younger players whereas now there seems to be less rotation. People are now recognising that it's a good opportunity to keep momentum going.

On Fleetwood Town...

The home game with them earlier this season was a really tough one. There wasn't much in terms of separating the teams but they've got a new manager in now and Lee Johnson has had a positive impact on the results.

They've had a tricky last couple of games including the FA Cup at the weekend when they lost 3-0 at Cambridge United so they will be looking to put that behind them and take their form into the league.

They've got some good quality players that are experienced at this level. We said to the lads this morning that we have to treat this as a League One game.