Head Coach feels the Reds must once again be at their best against the Rams on Saturday.
Reds Head Coach Paul Heckingbottom wants his side to continue to improve between now and the end of the season.
The Reds are currently in 10th place in the Championship table on 50 points but ‘Hecky’ does not want the side to rest on their laurels.
Heckingbottom added his Reds side have not surprised him personally, but wants them to keep pushing to become even better.
He said: “The details are for us and stay in the dressing room but there’s always things we can work on but it’s a case of keeping that mentality of improving.
“We’ve got 17 players that are all chomping and when they’ve been called upon in the last couple of months, they’ve done really well. Everyone is playing for that place and playing for improvement is what drives us forward.
“We’ve been pleased with how we’ve adapted, how we’ve dealt with challenges on and off the pitch and if I take stock, there’s been lots of things we’ve been pleased with but you can’t be satisfied.
“It’s about how do we improve, next season will be an all new challenge regardless of what happens this season and you have to be doing things better than this season. We don’t and we never spoken about the play-offs. You set targets at the start of the season to stay up and you’re happy with fourth bottom.
“You set targets of the play-offs and once you can’t get there, your target’s gone. It’s pointless, we don’t do it. It’s about being as good as you can be and seeing where that gets you.
“I don’t think we’re there yet but what we have changed in terms of mentality is that habit forming, I’d like to think they want to be the best they can be. So regardless of them playing for Barnsley and winning games, that comes as a by-product of them being wanting to be as good as they can possibly be.
“It’s us pushing them with that sort of mentality and that’s what you’re trying to get. I’d love to be in a position where in training you’re just there to supervise because the lads are driving everything themselves.”
Josh Scowen made his return to the side after two games out with an ankle injury sustained against Reading, with the Head Coach adding they will continue to assess his situation.
He gave his team news ahead of the trip to the Rams on Saturday.
“We have a couple of players still managing themselves through, ‘Scowey’ obviously with his ankle so we’ll make sure we see how he is, Saidy Janko has had another week training and will get some game time tomorrow in the Under 23s.
“Apart from that, it’s the usual little bits that we’re managing through, Matty James from his kick against Villa still, but it’s just little niggles. Aidy’s recovery is just slow after his operation, it’s the fact it’s such a long-standing injury, there’s never a quick fix but the condition of his body is the main thing now,” he added.
‘Hecky’ will be back on the touchline after serving a one-game ban against Huddersfield Town last weekend.
He admitted he will be glad to be back in the dugout this weekend.
He said: “I can’t see me sitting up there too soon. People were saying I might like it but no I enjoy being on the sidelines. It was just a personal thing, maybe they weren’t bothered but from a personal point of view it was strange.
“There was a bit of frustration at some points in the second half but I’m not used to that, I can’t preconceive, I’m more comfortable being there. I didn’t realise how much I talked to the players until I couldn’t do it.”
The Rams are also vying for a play-off spot under Steve McClaren and feels that they have the capacity to cause the Reds problems.
He hopes they can restrict Derby’s chances to a minimum and is looking forward to the task in hand.
“I’m sure they’re not thinking that way," Heckingbottom said. "They’ve got a really good squad of players. When Steve first went in there, they went on a run on a run of eight wins from 10, 12 games whatever it was. We know they’re capable of it and they’ll be there or thereabouts so that’s what they’ll be focusing on, we’ll be aiming to not let them start that on Saturday.
“We’re looking forward to it, it’ll be tough, we know they can change the team around because he has good players on the bench and in the stands but we have to be prepared to produce our best game. They have a way of how they like to play with personnel that they can change around. We have to be prepared for that and I’m sure we will be.
“They can produce goals out of nothing, we could be well in the game but a moment of brilliance from one of the players can be a goal and that’s what we’ve been prepared for in every game. Sometimes there’s nothing you can do about it, you have to accept it but we have to limit the opportunities they get and put them under as much pressure to make them uncomfortable.”
A group of more than 60 supporters are set to walk to Pride Park to raise money for CALM.
‘Hecky’ is delighted that the supporters are helping to raise awareness for a worthwhile cause, raising thousands of pounds for charity in the process.
He believes it further reinforces the close bond the Reds have between the club and the supporters.
He added: “It’ll be great, it adds to the occasion and the atmosphere. If they walk past too many pubs some of them may not make it so I hope they’ve chosen the route carefully.
“Home and away, the atmosphere has been great, it’s been a big part of the season and everyone is enjoying it. We appreciate that support and we like to see fans on the away days because there’s been lots to cheer and likewise the players have had lots of support to drive them on.
“There’s always things going off and I think the more things you can attach to a club, it helps the community and raises the awareness of the club as well and shows what a fantastic group of supporters we’ve got.”
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