Derby County star hails the way Darren Wassall has transformed club's fortunes

Bradley Johnson has praised the way Paul Clement's replacement has rejuvenated the Rams.

Derby County midfielder Bradley Johnson has hailed the impact that head coach Darren Wassall has had on the side, telling the club's official website that the players are able to play with freedom again.

Wassall took over from previous boss Paul Clement earlier this month after a poor run of form which saw the Rams fail to win since Boxing Day and consequently risk forfeiting their promotion challenge.

After a 1-0 defeat at home to MK Dons in his first game in charge, the 47-year-old has led County to back-to-back wins this week over Brentford and Blackburn Rovers which have seen the club revive their play-off push.

Johnson, who joined the East Midlands club from promoted Norwich City on deadline day at the end of the summer transfer window, hailed the impact that Wassall's methods have had on the squad.

He told the Rams website: "The confidence is coming back and Wass deserves a lot of credit for the way he has motivated us. We are playing with freedom now, we are confident, and long may that continue.

"It was important to carry on our form from Saturday. Back-to-back wins in this league is a good achievement and we knew that we needed to put in a performance to mirror how well we played on Saturday. The past two games have given us great confidence."

Derby will be desperate to secure a play-off place at the very least this season after their dramatic collapse under Steve McClaren last campaign saw them miss out on a spot in the top six after being top of the league with less than four months to play.

The Rams currently sit fifth in the Championship table, five points off an automatic promotion position with 13 matches to play.

Wassall's side travel to freefalling Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday.

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