CHRIS Martin is hoping Derby County can maintain their extraordinary winning streak against Leeds United this weekend and send the Rams into the play-offs on a high.
The Rams have won their last 10 meetings with old rivals Leeds.
They travel to Elland Road tomorrow, kick-off 12.15pm, for their final game of the regular season.
While the fixture will bring down the curtain on 15th-placed Leeds’ campaign, Derby still have the play-offs to look forward to.
Steve McClaren’s men are already assured third place in the Championship table, so there appears to be little riding on this weekend’s game.
But that is without taking into account the historic rivalry between the two clubs – and Derby’s proud recent run against the Yorkshire outfit.
One of Martin’s 23 goals this term came in a 3-1 victory over Leeds in October – McClaren’s first official game in charge.
“There’s always that bit of extra spice with the history between the two clubs,” said the striker.
“I don’t know as much about it as some other people, because I’ve only been here for a short period.
“But I know we’ve got a very good record against Leeds and, hopefully, that can continue at Elland Road on Saturday.
“We’ll be doing everything we can to prepare for it, just as we would for any other game.
“We owe it to ourselves, the competition and to Leeds United.
“We don’t want to take our foot off the gas now.
“We will be looking to maintain the winning mentality we’ve built up.
“That’s seven wins out of nine now and five in a row, so we’ve hit some good form at the right time.”
Another incentive for the Rams is the chance to break a club record for the number of points accumulated in a season.
They equalled the current record - 84 - last Saturday, thanks to a 4-2 success against Watford at the iPro Stadium.
Last season, that would have been enough to clinch automatic promotion (Hull City went up with 79).
“Obviously, it counts for nothing as we didn’t get automatic promotion but it’s another good achievement,” said Martin.
“It’s always different in the Championship - and in any league. You can’t judge one season with another.
“It’s a fantastic total of points that we’ve got to and I think we’ve played some brilliant football to get to it as well.
“We’ve defended very well and we’ve attacked extremely well, too. That’s been key.
“We’ve created a hell of a lot of chances - and we saw that against Watford.”
In the end, Derby have had to settle for third behind champions Leicester City (99 points) and Burnley (92 points).
“I think if you’d asked most fans and most players at the start of the season, we probably would have taken third place,” said Martin.
“I think we’ve done very well to get where we are and we’ve thoroughly deserved it.
“We’ve not quite been good enough or consistent enough to get into that top two.
“Credit to Leicester and Burnley. They’ve been fantastic and we’ve had to settle for the next best thing, which is the play-offs.”