Promotion rivals both home and away in Derby County's next five fixtures

Derby County currently sit in second place in League One, just four points off the top spot
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Derby County find themselves at a crucial stage of the season as they look to make a final promotion push.

30 games in, Paul Warne's side find themselves in second place in League One just four points off top with a game in hand.

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The Rams will be there and there abouts come the end of the season and will be hoping that they can make the step back up to the Championship after two seasons in League One.

Over the next five games, they will face both some struggling teams and some promotion candidates so every game will be vital.

Derby County vs Shrewsbury Town (H) - Saturday 10 February

Shrewsbury Town manager Paul HurstShrewsbury Town manager Paul Hurst
Shrewsbury Town manager Paul Hurst

Shrewsbury Town will come to Pride Park on Saturday in a game that the Rams will be expected to win. The Shrews are looking over their shoulder in 16th place, just five points clear of the relegation zone.

Paul Hurst recently took over for his second spell as Shrewsbury manager in the last week of January. He had previously managed the side from 2016-2018 when he led his side to a third placed finish in League One.

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They fell in the playoff final before Hurst was appointed Ipswich manager. Hurst clearly has the League One accumen and so Saturday's game could prove to be a tricky one for the Rams.

However, the Shrews are the joint-lowest scoring side in the league and so Derby should really be targetting a win.

Exeter City vs Derby County (A) - Tuesday 13 February

Gary Caldwell managing Exeter City at Pride ParkGary Caldwell managing Exeter City at Pride Park
Gary Caldwell managing Exeter City at Pride Park

Derby will then face a similar challenge on a long away trip to Exeter City in a week's time.

They will face an Exeter side who sit one place below Shrewsbury Town and have also struggled in recent weeks.

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Gary Caldwell's side are the other joint-lowest scoring side alongside the Shrews and have really struggled in attack over the course of the season.

Despite a long away journey that the Rams will face, it shouldn't be too much of a challenge if Derby really are as good as their league position would suggest.

The second highest scoring team vs the lowest scoring should only go one way. Plus Derby County's away record suggests they are more than comfortable making a long trip and performing well.

Derby County vs Stevenage (H) - Saturday 17 February

Stevenage have been the surprise package of League One this seasonStevenage have been the surprise package of League One this season
Stevenage have been the surprise package of League One this season

Derby will return to Pride Park a week on Saturday to face the surpise package of League One. Steve Evans' Stevenage side were promoted from League Two last season, but haven't struggled to adapt to life in the third tier.

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They are currently sixth in the league, just seven points off the Rams with two games in hand. Furthermore, when the two teams met earlier in the season, Boro came away with a 3-1 win where they dominated Paul Warne's side.

The Derby boss will be hoping that his in form side can get their revenge this time around, it could be a crucial matchup in the League One promotion race.

Barnsley vs Derby County (A) - Saturday 24 February

Barnsley have been one of the hot promotion favourites all season longBarnsley have been one of the hot promotion favourites all season long
Barnsley have been one of the hot promotion favourites all season long

It won't get any easier for Derby after their match against Stevenage as they will come up against Barnsley away from home.

The Rams will make the trip to Oakwell feeling optimistic as in the reverse fixture, Derby won 3-0 at home in what was arguably their best performance of the season.

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However, Barnsley have hit some form as of late and have won three on the bounce. Furthermore, they are only six points behind Paul Warne's side with a game in hand.

Neil Collins boasts a talented side, led by League One top scorer Devante Cole who could provide an exciting matchup with Derby's very solid defence.

A game that was earmarked as a big one before the season started should prove to be that big, it will be a marquee game during the final part of the season.

Derby County vs Charlton Athletic (H) - Tuesday 27 February

Derby County faced Charlton this past weekendDerby County faced Charlton this past weekend
Derby County faced Charlton this past weekend

Derby County will return to face a familar opponent in Charlton Athletic next who they just played away from home last weekend.

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They'll face the Addicks again but at home this time in what on paper will be an easier game compared to the likes of Stevenage and Barnsley.

However, it could be tricky as Charlton have recently appointed former Southampton and Luton Town boss Nathan Jones and so could find themselves in a better situation when the two teams meet again.

Derby won the reverse fixture 1-0 in what was a fairly dull but controlled performance from Paul Warne's side.

He would be more than happy for the same again to give his side a further three points to help with their promotion charge.