The Tigers are currently four points behind a Derby side that sits outside the play-off places on goal difference, and Adkins says his players should have no fear ahead of this weekend’s game at Pride Park.
“Derby have been in the play-off picture all season, but I thought that we could have beaten them at our place in the league earlier in the season but we conceded a late goal,” said Adkins.
“They’re an excellent side, but we’re in good form. We’ll go there full of confidence but at the same time realise that it’s going to be a tough, tough game and they’ll have a big home crowd behind them.
“People expected us to be relegated before a ball was kicked this season and we were bottom of the table in October, but now we’re in the race. If we win on Saturday we’ll be a point behind Derby but if we lose we’ll be seven points behind them. Those are the dynamics of this game.
“We should go there with an everything to gain, nothing to lose mind set. Derby invested heavily in their squad and were looking at the top two never mind the play-offs.
“We’ll go there with the belief that we can win. We’ve demonstrated that this season, like when we went to Leeds and beat them. We’re a team that defends and attacks together.
“We’ll focus on what we can control in the game. We’ve done our research and given the players information about the opposition they’re going to play against, including situations that might arise in the game and how they can deal with those. The message is to go out there and do what you do within the framework of the team and enjoy it. Graft your socks off – the supporters want to see a team playing for each other and working hard.”