RICHARD Keogh is relishing the prospect of an “exciting” showdown between Championship promotion-chasers Derby County and Queens Park Rangers on Monday night.
The two sides are preparing to go head-to-head at the iPro Stadium in front of the live television cameras.
QPR currently occupy the second automatic promotion slot, while fourth-placed Derby are four points behind, having played a game more.
The Rams were left deflated after last weekend’s 3-3 draw at Birmingham City, having led 3-1 late on before conceding a last-gasp equaliser, but skipper Keogh is looking forward to getting back out on the pitch against Harry Redknapp’s men.
“We’ve got a big game coming up and we’ve had a chance to recover, get some good working done on the training pitch and get ready for an exciting match,” said the Republic of Ireland international.
“Sometimes, you’ve got to dust yourself down and learn from these experiences.
“We all want to learn, as players and as people.
“We’re excited by the challenge – and I think we’re up to it.
“This is a good opportunity for us and we’ve given ourselves the best chance.
“We want to be involved near the top of the league.
“So it’s an exciting time for Derby and an exciting time for us.
“The new manager (Steve McClaren) has come in and been really good with us on the training pitch.
“He’s brought in some good players and we’ve got a young, hungry group here, who are willing to learn in order to succeed and get better. We’ve got to keep our feet on the ground, work hard and see where it takes us.”
After the Birmingham game, Keogh admitted Derby perhaps needed to learn when to rein in their attacking instincts.
But that attack-minded approach has been a big part of the Rams’ success this season – they are the top scorers in the division.
“We conceded three goals at Birmingham and it is just lapses of concentration that has cost us and we need to cut those out,” Keogh added.
“We had a chance to go third and we should have taken advantage.
“It’s a crazy division – but it’s still positive and it’s another point on the board.”
DERBY County’s next Under-21 Professional Development League Two North fixture against Coventry City has been put back a day.
The Rams were due to face the Sky Blues at Northampton Town’s Sixfields ground on Monday (February 10) but due to the first team being in action that evening against Queens Park Rangers, the fixture will now be played on Tuesday (February 11), with a 2pm kick-off.