The Rams enter the international break at the foot of the table and boss Billy Davies is happy not to have been left behind by the rest of the league.
They are on the same points as Bolton, two adrift of Tottenham and Fulham, and three away from Sunderland, Middlesbrough, Birmingham and Wigan.
With a number of Rams squad heading to their international sides it a chance for Davies to reflect on the start of the season and he was philosophical. He believes keeping in touch with the pack is crucial, adding that it keeps Derby in the mix and with a fighting chance of survival.
“Our objective in the first 10 games was not to have distance between us and the others,” Davies told the official web site.
“I am not happy with being bottom, of course, but I am realistic and I set realistic targets.
“There is a certain way of planning and our main objective in the first 10 matches was not to become detached. That was absolutely crucial.
“We are very much in contact with other clubs who have spent big money and considering where we have come from; we are reasonably pleased to be in this situation.
“This is about looking at the big picture and not a short-term fix. We know exactly where we want to be after the first 10 games, we know where we want to be in the next 10 games after that, and we know where we want to be at the end of the season.
“We are still adjusting and finding our feet, but we are very much in the mix and far from dead and buried,” commented Davies.
The Rams have eight players on international duty this week, and for Eddie Lewis it`s a recall to the United States’ squad for the friendly international against Switzerland in Basel later this month.
Lewis has won 73 caps for his country but his last appearance was in the defeat by Ghana at the 2006 World Cup finals. Rams boss Davies feels the call-up is fully deserved. “I’m delighted for him and I think America have made the right move,” said the Rams boss.
“I think Eddie has lots to offer with his experience and ability. He is looking in great shape, he has come here and settled in well, and has given us that width we needed.”
Lewis will be joined in the US squad by new midfielder Benny Feilhaber who will be hoping to add to his 12 caps in the match against Switzerland on October 17.
The Rams have four players in the Scotland squad for their crucial Euro 2008 qualifiers, Kenny Miller, Gary Teale, Stephen Pearson and Jay McEveley and Robert Earnshaw and Lewis Price are in the Welsh squad.
“I am all for my players playing international football. It’s great for them and the club,” said the Rams boss.
“Hopefully we come through this weekend with three points, get them off for international duty and get them back unscathed.”