Jeff is hoping for more goals from midfield as confidence is on the rise
JEFF Hendrick hopes his growing confidence will help him continue to improve his goal tally from midfield.
The Derby County youngster has been in impressive form of late, earning high praise from manager Nigel Clough.
The Republic of Ireland Under-21 international has also found his scoring touch, netting three times in his last six outings.
Hendrick has already been on target twice since the turn of the year.
His spectacular strike helped the Rams see off Middlesbrough 3-1 at Pride Park Stadium on New Year's Day.
And he followed that with a goal in Derby's 5-0 FA Cup third round victory over League One leaders Tranmere Rovers last weekend.
That took his season's tally to four – one more than he managed last term in his breakthrough season.
"I'm happy enough and I want to keep getting on the scoresheet, so I have to keep shooting and getting in the box," said Hendrick.
"A few games ago, the gaffer was telling us we needed to have a few more shots.
"So that put it into my mind going into games that if I get the ball in and around the box to have a shot.
"Even if you don't score yourself, the keeper could parry the ball and someone else could follow up, as we saw with the first goal against Tranmere.
"I got three goals last season and I've now got four this season – and I want to keep getting more."
Hendrick's first senior goal – the winner for the 10-man Rams against Nottingham Forest at the City Ground – remains his most memorable.
But his goal against Boro – bringing down a clearance on his chest and finding the top corner with a half-volley from outside the box – is not far behind.
"My goal against Forest is still my favourite, because of the occasion and the fact it was my first goal," said the 20-year-old.
"But in terms of the strike, my goal against Middlesbrough was probably my best so far."
Hendrick got Derby's fourth goal against Tranmere, controlling Ben Davies' centre with his left foot before firing a low shot past Owain Fon Williams with his right foot from the edge of the area.
"It dribbled in a bit and I didn't know if it was going to go in or not – but I was happy it did," he added.
"I could have had another with my left foot but didn't catch it too well."
Hendrick, the Rams' reigning young player of the year, had a rough patch earlier this season and briefly lost his place in the side.
However, he has come back strongly and is now producing some of his best football to date.
"I got a bit more confidence in training and started bringing that into the games," said Hendrick.
"That has been growing with every game."