Ward issues rallying call

Rams striker keen upset Hammers on Saturday

Jamie Ward: Derby striker keen for the Rams to shine when they tackle West Ham on Saturday

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Derby striker Jamie Ward has urged his team-mates to thrive in the spotlight when they take on West Ham this weekend, live on Sky Sports HD2.

The Rams visit Upton Park on Saturday evening on the back of three straight defeats and having also struggled previously in front of the cameras this season.

Their defeats at Coventry and Leicester were both televised live and the former Sheffield United man told skysports.com that the younger players in the squad can only get better with the experience gained this year.

"There is a great team spirit throughout the camp and a lot of teams have underestimated us so far this season," he said.

Perform

"We all work incredibly hard and I feel that is one of the main reasons why we have done so well this season.

"We just seem to run people down, but we just don't seem to be able to perform live on Sky Sports yet.

"A few of us seem to go into our shells when the cameras come round, but we do have a very young squad and I'm sure that it can only get better with time for them."

The Rams' recent sluggish form has seen them dip to 10th after their early season promise saw them challenge for top spot, but they remain just three points off the play-off places and Ward is keen to get back to winning ways this weekend.

Upset

"I don't really know what we expected at the start of the season because we didn't have the best of pre-seasons in terms of results," he admitted.

"I've always said that pre-season games mean nothing and that it is purely a way to get fit for the upcoming season.

"Once we got a run of results going confidence was high and you go from strength to strength, but obviously a few injuries have cropped up and the results have not gone our way recently.

"Hopefully we can cause a bit of an upset against a very good side in West Ham on Saturday and that will help kick us into gear again."