Derby coach Andy Garner has set his sights high after another convincing home performance proved too much for Huddersfield who crashed to a 3-0 defeat at Pride Park.
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First half goals from Craig Bryson and Jamie Ward put Derby in control and a Richard Keogh header just before the hour finished off Huddersfield who had skipper Peter Clarke taken to hospital for a precautionary scan after he suffered concussion.
Derby went out of the FA Cup at home to Blackburn last week and Garner said they had something to prove after that result.
"It was a disappointing performance last week so we wanted a response and we got one today," he said.
"We were outstanding from the first minute to the last and everybody was on top of their game out there. There's no reason why we can't make the top six.
"It's a very good squad in terms of effort and honesty and when we are on it, we are as good as anything in this division.
"We scored three excellent goals and it was a magnificent finish from Jamie Ward. He's getting back to full fitness, three weeks ago he couldn't even lift his leg that high.
"It was a very good all-round performance from him because he also brought other players into the game."
Huddersfield caretaker boss Mark Lillis had no complaints about the defeat to one of his former clubs.
"Derby played very well and all credit to Nigel (Clough), he's doing well and they looked like a top six team," he said.
"It's been a tough week for us and we caught them on a good day and they deserved the win. But there's no lack of application or commitment on the pitch and I am proud of the players."
But Lillis has no intention of putting his name forward for the vacant manager's job.
"My main focus is to take training on a daily basis and to keep everybody together. We are in the process of going through applications but the main thing for me is to pull everyone together.
"I am not going to throw my hat into the ring because I am the academy manager of Huddersfield and I'm honoured to be that."
Huddersfield had not won at Derby since 1957 and they went behind in the 24th minute when Bryson got in front of a defender
just outside the six yard box to turn in a Paul Coutts cross from the right.
Huddersfield almost conceded a second four minutes later when Conor Sammon got behind them on the left before he was crowded out by two defenders but Derby increased their lead with a quality finish in the 33rd minute.
Left back Gareth Roberts made a strong run to deliver a cross which Ward dispatched with a left-foot half volley from 15 yards into the top right corner.
The visitors had been second best and their cause was not helped when Clarke, who needed treatment after the Sammon block, did not come out for the second half.
Any chance of a Huddersfield fightback ended in the 59th minute when Ward swung in a free kick from the right and Keogh planted a header inside Alex Smithies right post.