Derby manager Nigel Clough believes their 2-0 victory over struggling Bristol City could have a major influence on his side's npower Championship campaign.
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Clough had seen his side fail to match their impressive home form on the road, so a clean sheet and three points were more than welcome.
First-half goals from Jeff Hendrick and Craig Bryson left City with only two points to show from their last nine games at Ashton Gate, where they have not won since August.
A delighted Clough said: "We know that if we are to get where we want to be this season our away form has to improve, so this was a huge result.
"Bristol have been struggling at home, but they are still a dangerous side with some terrific away wins to prove that.
"We took our chances and then kept the ball well to kill off the game, so all credit to the players.
"Our aim remains as it was at the start of the season - to be a top-half team and see where that takes us.
"A clean sheet was a bonus because we haven't had too many of those and overall I'm very happy with the performance."
Midfielder Hendrick broke the deadlock after 34 minutes when Michael Jacobs delivered a precise chip into the box, which was met by a deft volley.
Before City could recover, Gareth Roberts produced a curling cross from the left and Bryson timed his run perfectly to net with a glancing header.
Home manager Derek McInnes was less than impressed with his team's performance, saying: "It doesn't matter what formation you employ if you fail to defend crosses as we did for Derby's two goals.
"We also have a problem at the moment with being vulnerable after we concede.
"By taking their chances, Derby earned the right to get 11 men behind the ball in the second half and that made it very difficult for us.
"If we had taken our chances it would have been a different story. Liam Fontaine and Sam Baldock should have scored and there were other opportunities."
City should have pulled a goal back five minutes before the break when Baldock ran clear, but his weak shot was parried by Adam Legzdins.
The Derby goalkeeper also did well in the closing stages to somehow keep out a point blank header from Fontaine and block a fierce Albert Adomah drive.