DerbyMad: It seems like forever since the Rams had a game, and now there is a big match coming up Wednesday night.
Tommy Smith: Yes it’s very big. Obviously we have had 11 days since the last one, so we are all looking forward to it. It’s always frustrating looking at the results coming in on a Saturday and hoping that they go your way. They did a little bit so hopefully a good performance and a win on Wednesday will cement our position a little bit more.
DM: You really need to cement it as you have a similar scenario after the Q P R game.
TS: It would be good to get the win. And then we go into another couple of weeks break after that. It will be nice to go into that on a bit of a high and look forward to the Ipswich game and have a bit of a rest.
DM: What do you guys do as a squad when you have such a break to keep motivated and keep fit without actually risking life and limb.
TS: It’s quite tricky really. You have to work hard in short sharp sessions. But it is important to try and get your rest as well so you are refreshed and you have not been run into the ground or your legs are heavy. You have to make sure that you appreciate the rest and make the most of it. I’m sure we will get a few days off. It’s a great opportunity to do that and work hard in training. Work a bit more on the team shape and get things sorted out.
DM: Let’s talk about QPR. You scored your first Derby goal against them. It must have been important for you.
TS: Yes, obviously it was nice to get off the mark. It was well documented that the team had not done well away from home up to that time. So it started off a good run of results away from home. So it was a ver important gam for us.
DM: I was about to mention that you have had a phenomenal run of results away from home but it has not been so good at home. It seems though that you may finally be getting your home form together.
TS: Yes I think so. I think possibly the last 3 or 4 performances have shown that. Again though we haven’t played quite as well as we would like to have done. The Wolves game especially highlighted the sort of errors that we can make in conceding goals. It was good to get a clean sheet against Plymouth, but there are still a number of things to work on and going into the QPR game we are going to have our heads screwed on right and try to work at keeping a clean sheet.
DM: QPR are a strange side aren’t they. They started the season really well then fell away. And now Ian Holloway is talking about the playoffs.
TS: They are in a position now where if they put in a good run too the end of the season they will have a great chance of getting in there, but I think that there are 5 or 6 teams in a similar position. They won at the weekend so will be on a bit of a high we will have to make sure that they don’t get 3 points against us.
DM: Even given that you are going to have a break after the game it is up to you to lose a playoff slot rather than have any other side take it off you.
TS: Yes, it’s in our hands now. The results went our way at the weekend. They seem to have done recently. Even when we have lost other teams around us have lost too. Everyone seems to be helping us at the moment. But it is up to us now. We know that if we play well and keep the level of performance high like we have been doing these last couple of months we can cement a playoff place.
DM: I know that the perceived football wisdom is that you take one game at a time. It is certainly the managers’ creed. Do you, however, find yourself studying the up; and coming fixtures and working out the permutations?
TS: Yes definitely. I was hoping that Reading and West Ham would draw last Saturday. Of course you look at every result and say "that result would be idea for us, or I hope that they lose." You can though only affect the game that you are playing in. If we keep winning between now and he end of the season we will definitely be in the playoffs. It is definitely in our hands.
DM: Happy times at the club these days though?
TS: Yes. It is a good place to be at. Training is really enjoyable. Let’s hope that that the match is on Wednesday. So long may it continue.