The Rams, who trail Bournemouth only by goal difference in the Championship league table, were in fantastic form on Saturday as they took apart Neil Lennon's Bolton side with ease. Two goals from Jeff Hendrick and Tom Ince were enough to see Steve McClaren's men keep pace with Bournemouth in preparation for Tuesday night's game against the Cherries.
After the Bolton game, clearly delighted with Ince's impact, McClaren told the Derbyshire Telegraph of how he was told to put Ince into the first-team from the off by his assistants, and how he hopes he can offer the 23-year-old a 'home' in the East Midlands.
“Credit Simmo and Eric, they told me to play Tom because of how he had trained all week,” said McClaren. 'It was a little unlucky on Simon Dawkins because we had won games with him in the team."
The former England boss went on to add: ''I said to Paul [Ince] that we'd look after Tom. I think he just needs an opportunity and a chance to find a home and that is what we want to give him. I think he can play in this team.''
The England Under-21 star has been out of sorts recently, after failing to make an impact at Hull or Nottingham Forest, but looked to be back to his best after almost scoring a hat-trick on his Derby debut.
Although there were concerns from Derby supporters upon joining, largely due to his failed loan spell with their East Midlands rivals, his debut seems to have changed the public opinion.
With 17 Championship games remaining, and automatic promotion at stake, few will argue the talented wide man has a big part to play for the club this season and could in fact be the difference between a top two finish and the play-offs.