Richard Keogh confident of Derby County promotion

Richard Keogh plays down perceived defeatist comments by Derby chairman Mel Morris, insisting promotion is very much on the agenda.

Richard Keogh says that he and his Derby County team-mates are well on course to win promotion into the Premier League, stating that chairman Mel Morris's comments were a smokescreen.

Darren Wassall's men sit fifth in the Championship table, six points clear of seventh-placed Birmingham City but five adrift of the second automatic promotion spot.

The Rams do have the momentum to bridge that gap to second-placed Burnley after beating Blackburn Rovers 1-0 on Wednesday for a second successive victory.

Optimism is rife at the iPro Stadium once again after a rough couple of months. Manager Paul Clement was dismissed earlier in February following a winless run which stretched back to Boxing Day, and only ended with the 3-1 win at Brentford last Saturday.

After sacking Clement, Morris mentioned that promotion was not the objective this season, but Keogh believes this was a deflection tactic and backs his team-mates to reach the promised land.

Speaking on Sky Sports' FL72 Podcast, the Republic of Ireland defender said: "I think he was trying to take pressure off the club.

"We are the No 1 target in the division for a lot of teams and with the squad we have got we are capable of achieving promotion, ask anyone in the dressing room and that's the aim, to get to the Premier League.

"Anyone who doesn't have that mindset is not welcome in the dressing room. He was trying to make a point saying the club is on the right path and even [if] we don't get promoted this year we will keep striving to get it. The football club is in a great place to achieve it."

County will look to consolidate their top-six position and move within two points of second place by beating Wolverhampton Wanderers away on Saturday afternoon.

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