CONOR Sammon believes that the way other teams set themselves up against Derby County is a compliment to their ability.
Bolton Wanderers were the latest side to come to Pride Park and let Derby dominate possession, and despite the wealth of talent in their forward line, mustered only six shots on target.
The Rams travel to high-flying Watford tomorrow, kick-off 3pm, and striker Sammon, 26, said: “As a group, we don’t really fear anyone in the league.
“I was surprised to see Bolton stand off us as much as they did and let us play.
“We’ve seen it quite a bit now, particularly at Pride Park, that teams come and look to set up with five in midfield and get men behind the ball.
“That’s a big compliment to how we’ve progressed as a team this season and the way we play.
“The big teams in the league are looking at us and changing the way they play, showing us a lot of respect.
“We’ve got a lot of belief in our group of players.”
Derby beat the Hornets 5-1 at Pride Park in September, but Gianfranco Zola’s side have vastly improved since then, and currently sit third in the Championship.
Their turnaround has been helped by a host of loans from new parent clubs Udinese, in Italy, and Granada, in Spain, and spearheaded by Matej Vydra, who has netted 19 goals so far this season.
Sammon, who scored his first Rams goal in that win, said: “When we played them, they had signed a lot of new players, but they didn’t have much time to gel.
“That day, we totally outclassed them and outplayed them, and it was 5-1 going on six or seven.
“We were right on it and they seemed to struggle with how much pressure we put them under.
“But the way they’ve gone on from there has been really impressive, and your man (Matej) Vydra has done really well, the amount of goals he’s got.
“The run of form they’ve gone on since then has really surprised me, and all credit to them.
“They’re playing some really good football, and I know their away form has been really good as well.
“We’ve got a tough match now on Saturday at their place.
“It’s going to be a completely different game from the one at Pride Park.”
Sammon is hoping to get a better “rub of the green” at Vicarage Road tomorrow, after a run of three draws from four games at Pride Park, any one of which could have resulted in a Rams win.
He said: “We’re working so hard as a team, fighting for each other, and things just aren’t going for us on the pitch.
“In the last two games, against Wolves and Bolton, who are two physical teams, we were looking for that rub of the green.
“Just for something to drop for you, a decision to go for you or some little thing.
“But we’ve got two draws, which is two extra points on the board which is important.
“We’d love to turn some of the draws into wins, because you look at the league table and see where you could be.
“We know we’ve got plenty of games left to get points on the board and try and climb into the play-off places.”
Meanwhile, the newly-capped Republic of Ireland international was full of praise for team-mate Michael Hoganson, who made his full debut against Wolverhampton Wanderers.
The 19-year-old full-back impressed enough to keep his place against the Trotters, and is in line to make a third appearance in London this weekend, with Gareth Roberts serving the final game of his three-match ban.
Sammon said: “When the team was announced prior to the Wolves match, and you see that he (Hoganson) is starting, you can see the excitement.
“He’s had to wait a long time for that opportunity, and he’s been training hard week in, week out since I’ve come here.
“The boys are always there to give advice or help, and we were all delighted to see how well he did.
“We can see the ability he’s got in training, but sometimes it is a different story when you go out onto the pitch for your first game.
“Sometimes you’re so eager to impress that it doesn’t always go as you’d like, but Michael was probably man of the match against WOlves.
“For someone so young, it’s brilliant to see him do so well.”