WITHOUT a doubt the Derby game is bigger than the derby game.

There is the tradition and pride and everything that comes with it when rival teams meet, and to all intents and purposes form goes out of the window.

But in the grand scheme of this season the outcome of tomorrow’s game could be of greater importance than anything that happens next week.

A home win, putting the Clarets five points clear in second, would be fantastic at this stage of the season, and hopefully the confidence from that would mean the derby takes care of itself.

We can go into today’s game with the resurgent Rams with our tails up too after the way we overcame Nottingham Forest last weekend.

I think we took them by surprise in a stunning first half.

And it would be nice if one or two managers would come out and compliment us on how well we played and not how poorly their team played.

Danny Ings will have been disappointed not to take one of his chances in the game, but he still played a big part in the win.

It was great to see Sam Vokes score a couple, and even when Danny doesn’t he is helping the team in certain areas of the pitch. And when he is getting man-marked he is giving other players the opportunity to score.

For him to mark another England Under 21s call-up with a goal behind him would be welcome, but if it means us winning tomorrow without that, and Danny scoring the winner the week after then we will take that!

It was good to see Burnley add to their attacking options this week with the news that, at just 17, Jamie Frost has signed his first professional contract with a two-and-a-half year deal.

A lot of people have likened him to ‘a young Eyresy’ with him being left footed. He has two good feet in fact, and it’s safe to say that he is quicker than I was.

He is a young, gifted footballer has all the right attributes in terms of ability and desire, and I think that has been reflected in the length of his contract.

And it just goes to show that when players produce the goods from an early age they get rewarded.

Jamie knows he has a big future ahead of him, and this is just the start.

Hopefully he can keep the right attitude, and play at the highest level.

n Thanks to all who sent or tweeted birthday messages on Wednesday (my daughters saw the ones on Twitter!) – even the one from my old team-mate Jamie Hoyland calling me an old so-and-so.