STEVE McClaren is confident his Derby County team can handle the pressure of the promotion run-in, which starts against rivals Nottingham Forest on Saturday.
Both teams are chasing a top-six finish and have 10 games left to book a play-off place.
The Rams have a six-point advantage over sixth-placed Forest going into the Championship clash at the iPro Stadium.
McClaren, a former Forest boss, has said all along the time to look at the table is with 10 games to go.
“We are where we want to be, in the mix,” he.
“We are a contender, and deservedly so when you see the way we play and our performances.
“There are 30 points to play for, still a long way to go, but we are in there.
“Can we handle the pressure of the run-in? Absolutely.”
Derby are without a win and a goal in four matches, while Forest have not won in six.
The Rams drew 0-0 at Reading on Saturday and McClaren was pleased with the way the players handled a tough fixture.
“There was a lot of pressure on the team. We asked them to extend the gap or maintain the gap between themselves and seventh place, and they did,” said the former England boss.
“So the mentality of the team is good. It has got belief, you can see that.
“I was really pleased with the composure with which we played the game in terms of defending, in terms of keeping the ball and keeping control.
“The only thing missing at the moment is the icing on the cake – goals.”
Rams full-back Michael Hoganson has joined Conference side Alfreton Town until the end of the season.