Paul Warne believes Derby’s superb away form will be key in promotion bid

By Sports Desk January 06, 2024

Derby boss Paul Warne believes his side’s away form could be the catalyst for promotion after a 3-1 victory at Fleetwood.

The Rams fired themselves to within two points of second-placed Bolton with a fine fifth straight victory on the road.

Player-of-the-match Nathaniel Mendez-Laing opened the scoring before prolific marksman James Collins hit his 16th goal of the season on the stroke of the break.

Jayden Stockley pulled one back in the second half, but Tom Barkhuizen ensured Derby’s impressive away run went on.

Warne said: “We did enough to win and come the end of the season it doesn’t matter how you win, it’s just important that you win.

“We’ve done well away from home in different football matches. At Oxford and Wigan, they were different matches to today.

“It’s a boost for us. They’re good lads and they want to get near the summit.

“There aren’t many weekends when you know you’re going to have a positive trajectory with a win because of the FA Cup.

“To take ourselves into third is great. I think we’ve got another gear.

“In fairness, at 2-1 I can’t say my blood pressure wasn’t through the roof because it was. Every time they went forward you’re always thinking the worst so to get the third goal was a relief.

“Over the course of the season you can outplay teams at Pride Park, but away from home these games are difficult. It’s winter football.

“We could have been better, but I’ll take three points over a better performance and a draw.

“We need to be better and have more control in games. I thought we overcomplicated it a bit in the second half.

“Our own errors allowed them back into the game and that’s disappointing.

“We allowed the opposition in and then had to weather the storm.”

New boss Charlie Adam is yet to taste victory since taking over the reigns at Fleetwood two games ago.

The Cod Army remained rooted to the foot of League One after a third straight league defeat.

But former Scotland international Adam believes his squad, who have not won in their last 11 games in all competitions, have what it takes to stay up.

He said: “I couldn’t be anymore proud of these lads.

“Again, we’re disappointed with the goals that we lost. But we’ll take positives from the performance, the endeavour, the shape and the organisation. They took everything in.

“They came up against a quality side in Derby, they punished us. But I couldn’t be prouder of these players.

“This group of players are taking on what we’re trying to give them as a staff. If they keep giving me that then we’ll be pushing up the league there’s no doubt about that.

“My two midfielders were magnificent. I said that to them in the dressing room, they’re playing against a Premier League player in Conor Hourihane and I thought they were magnificent against him.

“If they get that level of intensity and quality during games then we’re a good side and I’m looking forward to the rest of the season with them.

“We could have nicked a point. We had chances. But it comes back to moments in games. We conceded a set piece in the second minute of added time in the first half and then we’re 2-0 down.

“If you don’t take your chances with the quality that Derby have you can get punished. But I want to take the positives and we’ll build on that for next week.”

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