James Collins believes Derby County displayed the characteristics required to navigate their way through a tricky test against Cheltenham Town at Pride Park Stadium on Saturday.

Derby came from a goal behind early in the second half to claim a 2-1 victory to retain fourth place in the Sky Bet League One standings.

Although facing a side in the division’s bottom four, the Robins have been revitalised under Darrell Clarke in recent months after a poor start to the season and that was evident in their showing against the Rams as they look the lead through Liam Sercombe just after the break.

Midfielder Max Bird equalised on the hour mark before striker Collins netted a fine volley inside the final ten minutes from Nathaniel Mendez-Laing’s right wing cross.

Derby went into the game after two disappointing away results in the days beforehand, a 0-0 draw at Lincoln City and a 1-0 reverse at Reading, but Collins felt the side rolled up their sleeves and did what they needed to do to return to winning ways.

Paul Warne’s side have not lost back-to-back games in the league this term, a statistic that Collins feels is a positive sign going into the final three months of the season with all to play for.

The frontman said: “At this stage of the season, the result is what really matters.

“You can play the best football in the league but if you don’t get the result it can count for very little.

“We’ve had a tough three-game week, with two away games where we didn’t get the points we wanted, but we got a home win which we’re happy with.

“It is a sign of a good team to not have back-to-back defeats. If you can nip it in the good straight away, it shows there’s good character in the dressing room.

“Hopefully getting this result with give us the confidence we need and a chance to have a full week before we go to Charlton.”

Collins’ vital late winner was his 18th goal of what has been an excellent season so far.

The frontman has been a vital member of Warne’s side this term and his latest strike was arguably his best and most crucial yet.

He netted 12 times throughout last season, his first year in black and white, and he’s taken his numbers to another level this time around to fire the side into an encouraging league position with 17 matches left to play.

Reflecting on the finish, he said: “I just wanted to get good contact on the ball when it came into the box.

“I knew I’d managed to get half a yard of space, for the first time in the match, and with that it was all about making sure I got good contract and directed the ball on target.”

He added: “It was a bit frantic at times in the second half and I felt like I barely got a kick, but my job is to score goals so when that chance came late on I was just glad to put it away.”