"We have to get a result at Derby to make sure that when we play Wolves on Saturday we have a super-positive stadium and there is potential to go top," he says.
"It is a good sign that we had a game in midweek; we didn't want to brood all week and we have an opportunity to put it right.
"We are a strong team with good individual players and having played or seen most of the top teams now we feel we are in a good position.
"But we have to capitalise on that, it is no good just talking - we need to put some wins together and get to the top of the league."
Assessing the defeat at Forest, he says:
"Apart from the final six minutes we were excellent - and we have to focus on those positives.
"There were two or three great individual displays in that as well.
"We know how close we would be to the top if we had won on Sunday but we have to put a lot of things right.
"The disappointment of them actually scoring was a bit of a shock to us and maybe because we were in such control we did go forward a bit too much after their first goal - but that was our desire to put right what had gone wrong.
"We felt we should have had the game won and we were extremely disappointed, but football is like that and we have to move on and focus on what we need to do now - and take heart from the way we controlled 90% of the game at Forest."
Alan says the occasion of the game in the aftermath of Brian Clough's death had no adverse effect and adds:
"I felt the whole mental preparation for the game was good; we approached the game in the right manner and got over all the rigmarole at the start and focused on our game, but the final six minutes clouded all that, of course.
"I was really pleased with Nigel from midfield, as I was with Calum and Malky - and Chris Powell again showed what a steadying influence he can be at left back.
"The point is that as a team we played well but when we tried to seal the game it went away from us; sometimes that can happen."