Coming for Portsmouth: Derby County boss out to ‘hunt down’ leaders ahead of Fratton TV showdown

After victory over Bolton Wanderers, the Rams have the advantage over Peterborough United and Barnsley in the race for automatic promotion - but it's John Mousinho's side they have on their radar.
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Derby County boss Paul Warne is out to reel in Pompey as his in-form side aim to topple the long-term League One leaders.

And Warne has set his stall out to Rams fans that it’s the title, and not just promotion, in his team’s sights this season.

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Derby can close the gap on John Mousinho’s side to just two points, with the Blues not in action over the international break.

Warne’s side travel to mid-table Northampton on Saturday, bidding to extend a run of four successive wins.

Their 1-0 victory over promotion rivals Bolton last time out, secured their place in the second automatic promotion berth to reach the Championship - with a six-point advantage over Ian Evatt’s side.

But it’s the title which Derby are aiming for, after being afforded sizeable resources by third-tier standards to get back up at the second attempt.

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Pompey are the long-term leaders and have retained top spot since early December, a position they've held for most of the season,

It could be tight by the time Derby visit Fratton Park for a mouth-watering Sky-televised showdown at the end of the Easter period on April 2nd, however.

Speaking at a fans’ forum, reported by Derbyshire Live, Warne didn’t shy away from what the ambitions for his side are over the coming weeks.

When asked if it was first place or second he was looking at, Warne said: Good question.

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‘I would love to take either. Our job is to try to keep the feet on the floor because if you think you've got it sussed, then we will get punched in the face and lose three on the spin.

‘Our job has always been to try and go for the title. We've been saying that to the lads for weeks and months. That has been our dream.

‘If you aim higher, you fall short then I would take second, but we are actively trying to hunt down the top team. That's what we're trying to do, obviously, because I want everyone to have the best life they can have and being the champions doesn't get any better.’

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