The clash with the Rams is the first of seven games for Grant McCann’s side in the space of just 28 days, with Chelsea visiting the KCOM Stadium in the Emirates FA Cup before league fixtures against Huddersfield Town, Brentford, Reading, Blackburn Rovers and Swansea City.
And Irvine insists everyone in the Tigers’ camp is ready to meet the challenge of another hectic schedule head on.
“We seem to thrive in these periods and some of our best runs have come at busy times,” he said.
“That’s testament to the coaching staff and the way that we prepare us for each game. On top of that, we’ve brought in a couple of extra bodies and we’ve got a couple of lads back from injury as well.
“The whole squad is contributing and everyone wants to play their part. It’s an important time coming up for us with the amount of games we’ve got in such a short space of time. Momentum really is key in this league and we’re looking forward to this busy run. We’re excited to see where we can go.”
Looking ahead to the test of facing Philip Cocu’s side, Irvine continued: “It will be yet another very tough Championship game. Obviously they’ve had a lot of publicity of late, so no doubt the home crowd will be up for it and really getting behind their team.
“They’ll probably consider themselves to be under-achieving this season with their current league position but they’ll be giving it everything they’ve got to try and pick up results to turn their season around.
“We’ll have to be wary of their threats but, as we always do, we’ll focus on ourselves and how we can exploit them in order to win the football match.”
It was at Pride Park that the 26-year-old Australian made his first appearance for the Club back in September 2017 following his switch from Burton Albion. However, it proved to be a somewhat forgettable experience for Irvine, who was introduced as a 70th-minute substitute, as the Rams ran out 5-0 winners.
“That was definitely a freak result,” he added. “I think they only had six shots on target in the whole game and scored five goals!
“It was one of those freak days that can happen in football. I’ve had some happy memories against Derby in previous years as well though and I’m very much looking forward to Saturday. Hopefully we can go there and pick up a positive result.”