The Rams head into the FA Cup game against Chesterfield this weekend as favourites to progress to the next round.
Steve McClaren’s team have the home advantage and a higher quality squad, which has been competing in the division above their opponents and Ward has urged his side to be wary ahead of the game.
“We need to be on the ball. Against Southport we weren’t at our best yet we managed to progress to the next round,” he said.
“If we don’t perform we know the consequences and we certainly don’t want to be a headline in the Sunday newspapers for the wrong reasons.”
McClaren has enough experience to make sure that his main players aren’t complacent heading into the game.
Chesterfield can make things difficult for Derby in a number of ways and could look to try and gain an advantage by using an overly physical approach to the game.
Hopefully Derby have learned from the last round and will fly out of the traps looking to kill the game off before Chesterfield can gain a foothold in the match and raise anxiety levels within the home side.
The aim for Derby this season is always going to be the Championship, but the FA Cup represents the chance for the Rams to go on a long run and prove why they’ve already got enough to compete with some established Premier League teams.
However, to get that opportunity, they also need to play safe, sensible and effective football against League One opposition.