Striker Jamie Ward says Watford will be a 'different team' to that beaten earlier in season
IN-FORM Jamie Ward insists Derby County will not fear high-flying Watford when the sides meet at Vicarage Road tomorrow.
Gianfranco Zola's men are third in the Championship table and pushing for an automatic promotion spot, having won six of their last eight League games.
However, the Rams inflicted the Hornets' heaviest defeat of the season with a 5-1 thumping at Pride Park at the start of September – and are targeting a first League double this weekend.
"I think they will be a different Watford team to what they were when they came to Pride Park," said Ward.
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"They've obviously gelled a bit more now.
"We'll go there with a game plan, though, and, hopefully, get the same outcome as earlier in the season.
"They have picked up and won a lot of games. They're sitting third in the table.
"But we're here to do a job on them and we won't be afraid of them.
"We've battered them once this season and we know we can do it again if we play the way we can."
There has been much talk about Watford's use of the loan market, with 10 players borrowed from clubs linked to their owners – Italian side Udinese and Spanish outfit Granada.
"They've obviously used the loan market to their advantage and you can't knock them for that," said Ward.
"Every club wants to get to the Premier League and that's what they're trying to do.
"It's up to them where they get their players from and how they use the market."
Ward's equaliser in Tuesday night's 1-1 home draw with Bolton Wanderers took his goal tally for the season into double figures and sent him clear of Theo Robinson as Derby's leading scorer.
The former Sheffield United man missed three months of the campaign with a torn hamstring and his 10 goals have all come in his last 13 League appearances, including five in his last six.
"I've not played too many games this season but when I have played, I'd like to think I've made an impact," he said.
"I'm delighted to hit doubles figures in only 17 games and, hopefully, I can go on to get many more before the end of the season.
"I'm always confident in my ability and what I can do. I know I'll score goals, given the chances."
Ward netted a rare header to earn Nigel Clough's men a point against Bolton, sneaking in behind defender Sam Ricketts at the far post to convert Michael Jacobs' left-wing cross nine minutes from time.
"I just gambled at the back post," he said. "You could tell from the defender's body shape that he was going to try to let it go out.
"But there wasn't enough pace on the ball to let it go out, so I gambled and, luckily enough, I got good contact on it and it went in.
"Obviously, I'm never going to score a boat load of headers – that's not my strength.
"I'm sure I can pop up with one or two a season – but I will score a lot more with my feet."
At 26, Ward was the oldest player in Derby's starting line-up in midweek – just ahead of Adam Legzdins, Richard Keogh and Craig Bryson.
"We are a very young side – before Ben (Davies) came on, I was the oldest player out there," added the Northern Ireland international.
"Obviously, we've got a lot of young lads who are still learning. Good luck to them and I hope they keep progressing.
"I don't know about being the 'old man' of the team – more like the baby-faced assassin!
"But it's good if they look up to me and I'd like to help them all go on to achieve better things.
"Hopefully, they can learn a lot from me and I'm still learning myself."