Rams boss Frank Lampard is keen to see his side get a grip on the Sky Bet Championships top spots as the busy Christmas period approaches.
Derby sit just five points behind leaders Norwich City following the 2-1 win at Sheffield Wednesday last weekend, and travel to face Stoke City tomorrow (Wednesday) aiming to cement their top six place.
And with the Championship as hard to call as ever with teams dropping points all over the place, Lampard is keen not to see Derby fall into that trap.
He said: “I want us to be at the top and that’s where we should set our standards.
“It’s not always reality but the game at the weekend was important because we weren’t at our best, but we did manage to get a result and it will be important.
“You have to win games in all sorts of ways at any level if you want to be towards the top so that was a nice hurdle for us to climb but I do want us to focus on things we could have done better because we can do more.
“The Championship throws up all sorts of results but it’s competitive this year. There isn’t a runaway team this season.
“Norwich are on a good run and are a few points clear but there are a real batch of teams who will think they are in with a chance and we are one of those.
“It just shows you the importance of not getting carried away with ourselves, taking every game as it comes and stringing a couple of results together because you can’t relax in this league. Other teams in this league are winning and we need to do the same.”
As for the trip to Stoke, most Rams fans will be focusing on reuniting with former boss Gary Rowett, who left for City in controversial circumstances last season.
But for Lampard, it's about winning an important game against a side full of quality.
He said: "We will focus on the game as what it is which is a team that are strong in the league.
“They have a lot of fresh Premier League players from last season and they’ve brought in some big players in the summer, so I know we are going to a place that has the manager who was here last season and that is always going to bring an extra edge to it.
“We must focus away from that but we will appreciate the big contingent of away fans like we did at Sheffield Wednesday, because it really helps.”
“There are 3,000 fans or so that are coming so we need to perform at a level which makes them proud of their team.
“Our fans will sing and say whatever they want but generally what they will do is support us. We have to focus on the job in hand.
“We will analyse Stoke and I will try to prepare the team as well as I can and it’s up to the lads. It will be a big atmosphere and we need to use that in our favour.”