David Marshall spoke to press on Monday ahead of City’s clash with Nigel Clough’s Derby County at Cardiff City Stadium this Tuesday night.
While the Rams visit South Wales on the back of a two game losing streak, City’s keeper doesn’t expect an easy three points in front of the home fans on his 28th birthday.
"We’ve had a lot of joy against Derby since I’ve been here at Cardiff City, but I think this season they seem a lot better and stronger," said the Scot.
"We were probably lucky to come away with a draw at Pride Park earlier this season. Despite losing their last two games, it will be a difficult test - but at home we are very confident.
"Craig Bryson in the Derby midfield gives them a lot of energy; he had a really good game against us earlier this season. Jamie Ward is dangerous and obviously Conor Sammon. I think they’ve got a lot of quality and as I say they are a lot stronger this year than they have been in the last few seasons.”
Speaking of the Rams' specific threats, Marshy added: “They’re in a situation where they are out of the Play-Off picture as it stands and also pretty much safe in the league, but they come here with nothing to lose and they’ve got some good players. This is a massive game for us; the teams behind us in the league have some difficult games as well, so it would be fantastic if we could get the three points.”
Despite being without skipper Mark Hudson for a second game on the trot, the City shot-stopper believes Malky Mackay’s side will have enough in reserve to keep the Rams at bay with the help of the home crowd.
“Huds has been one of our best players this season and any team would miss their captain but to be fair big Ben Nugent’s come in and done really well," Marshy continued. "We've also got experienced centre halves playing; Matt Connolly’s been promoted a few times and Ben Turner’s got a lot of experience so we should have enough about us to get the points.
“Coming off the back of a bad result we need to get the crowd behind us and it’s up to us to make that sort of atmosphere. The first twenty-five minutes tomorrow night could be crucial. Being one goal down against Middlesbrough wouldn’t have been a problem going into the second half but it’s a big mountain to climb when two goals down. Even if it does go against us at the start of the game though I believe we have enough about us to create chances.
“We just need to turn the next few games into wins and it will see us into a really strong position.”