HEAD coach Steve McClaren saluted a big win at the seaside for Derby County last night.
The 3-1 victory over Blackpool at Bloomfield Road saw the Rams jump above Queen's Park Rangers into third place in the Championship.
Rivals QPR lost, so did Wigan Athletic and Reading, while Nottingham Forest drew.
Burnley strengthened their hold on the second automatic promotion place with a win at Barnsley and there were wins for Brighton, Ipswich and Bournemouth who are all knocking on the door of the top six.
But Derby's play-off place is looking secure with five games remaining and McClaren was delighted with the latest win.
"I thought the players were all ready, focused and determined going into the game to put a marker down again and show that we are not going to slip up," said McClaren after goals from Chris Martin – his 20th of the season – Patrick Bamford and Craig Bryson cancelled out an early strike from Blackpool's David Goodwillie.
All the goals came in the first half.
"It was a great response by the players – that first half was total control by us," said McClaren.
"It was great football, we should have scored more and then in the second half but we saw it through.
"It’s a big win and now we want to go on and cement that place in the top six."
McClaren praised Martin after the striker became the first Derby player to score 20 goals in a season since Dean Sturridge in 1995-96.
"Martin has been fantastic for us," said McClaren.
"He is the focal point of our attack. It was good to see him get that 20th goal."