JAKE Buxton says he does need the captain’s armband to be a leader on the pitch for Derby County.
Buxton was named Rams skipper for the 1-1 draw at Huddersfield Town on Boxing Day in the absence of Richard Keogh.
Keogh, who was himself covering for long-term injured club captain Shaun Barker, is facing a month on the sidelines with knee ligament damage.
Buxton spoke of his pride at captaining Steve McClaren’s side after the Huddersfield game.
But the whole-hearted central defender hopes to be able to influence the team regardless of his official role.
“I don’t need the armband to be a leader,” said the former Burton Albion and Mansfield Town man.
“I’ve got that in me anyway and my drive is to get this club promoted.
“I have that drive every day and I’ve had it since I came through the gates.
“I’m honoured to represent this club and put the shirt on every game.
“It was a big honour to put the armband on and I’ll just continue giving everything I’ve got for the club.”
Martin Paterson’s 86th-minute equaliser for Huddersfield denied Derby an eighth successive win.
The Rams remain fourth in the Championship table and unbeaten since the start of November.
But the end of the winning streak may not be totally a bad thing, according to Buxton.
“Sometimes, you need a little bit of a knock-back – a puncture, to let yourself down a bit – to stop people getting ahead of themselves,” said the 28-year-old.
“It can act as a reality check, as we realise we have to fight for everything we get – and we’ll continue doing that.”
Buxton believes confidence will still be high for tomorrow’s trip to bottom club Barnsley, who are looking to turn around their fortunes under new boss Danny Wilson.
“We’ve not lost the winning run to a defeat, so we’ve still got momentum going to Barnsley,” said Buxton.
“We’ll prepare as well as we can and won’t take them lightly, because they will be rejuvenated after a change of manager and they’ve got some good players.
“We’ve told all the lads that we’ve set standards and everyone wants to beat us.
“Everyone wants to take this unbeaten run off us and it’s up to us to make sure we don’t let the next team do it.”
Buxton admits he will miss regular centre-back colleague Keogh while he is out but is hoping to form another good partnership with Manchester United loanee Michael Keane.
“We’re disappointed for Richard but, unfortunately, these things happen in football,” he said.
“It felt different against Doncaster when Michael Keane came on.
“We were a bit disjointed at times but I thought we were quite solid at Huddersfield and, on the whole, we felt comfortable with everything they had to throw at us.
“Last Saturday, Richard was a massive miss and I could tell he wasn’t with me.
“He’ll be missed until he’s fit but, hopefully, the medical staff can get him back on the pitch as soon as possible.
“Then it will give the manager a problem!”
Keane made his first start for the Rams on Boxing Day, having previously been restricted to three substitute appearances.
“He’s been here for a month and not really played, so he needs games to get into the swing of things,” said Buxton.
“That’s difficult in this division but I think adrenaline got him through the game and he did really well.
“The main thing is that he stays focused and maintains the same standard for Barnsley now.”