WELL we now have a bit of daylight between ourselves and third place after a very professional performance against Derby on Saturday.

As Steve McClaren said after the game, this game was never going to decide who finishes in second but it certainly gives us even more reason to believe this could be our year.

We got a bit of luck with the sending off of Chris Martin before the break, although I still contest the Rams’ striker could have walked before the ref decided his fall in the penalty area was a dive and worthy of a second yellow card. But we’ve had next to no help from refs this season so it was a welcome slice.

A goal in either half David Jones and Dean Marney – both of who were superb throughout – was enough to see of a robust challenge from the visitors.

But aside from the goals, and the first from Jones was an absolute peach of a volley up and over former Claret Lee Grant, the fact we stood up to the rough house tactics and didn’t allow ourselves to get involved was a real sign of class.

Our home form has been fantastic and it was great to see our biggest crowd of the season get behind the lads.

And most of the 17,000-plus inside Turf Moor will have gone home very happy and perhaps even turning one eye towards promotion.

We’re five points ahead of Derby in third and nine ahead of QPR in fourth but we shouldn’t allow ourselves to get too carried away just yet.

There is still a long way to and while I agree that we’re looking extremely difficult to beat at the minute, I am sure that the gaffer and the lads won’t be allowing their minds to wander.

There’s the little matter of the East Lancashire derby next weekend.

As I have said for the last few years, this could be our best chance yet to end the wretched winless run against Rovers.

We’ll certainly be going into the game in high spirits but I think Rovers’ 4-0 defeat in another derby on Saturday at Bolton Wanderers could fire them up.

These are the type of games we live for and I just hope beyond all hope we come away with a win.

If we can then maybe, just maybe, we can begin to dream of the promised land.