Derby impressed on their Premiership return as they drew 2-2 with Portsmouth at Pride Park yesterday.
Billy Davies, watching the game from the director's box after being handed a one-match touchline ban by the Football Association following an infringement from a Championship game in January, was handed the perfect tonic as captain Mat Oakley fired Derby into a fourth-minute lead.
Although County continued to dominate, Portsmouth drew level in the 27th minute through Benjani Mwaruwari.
An end-to-end game then exploded in the closing stages, sparked by one of Portsmouth's five debutants, £7million striker John Utaka, who gave the visitors the lead.
But their advantage lasted a minute as one of Derby's by new faces in free transfer defender Andy Todd powered home a diving header.
"I am very proud of the performance, "said Davies. "I thought overall we deserved the point, although I am disappointed to have got only the one.
"It's commendable the way we competed with a side that has been in this division for a while now and given the amount of money they have spent, so I cannot complain.
"Ten months ago we were looking at avoiding relegation to League One, and now here we find ourselves competing against the best teams, players and managers and we have to enjoy the experience.
"I know there is no one outside Derby who gives us a chance, and I am not surprised. It's not a shock.
"I can understand it; Derby to go down and Davies the first to be sacked.
"It's the same every season for those teams that come up, but it doesn't change anything for me.
"I can understand why people think all that when you look at our spending power compared to many of the teams.
"We have got a lot of hard work ahead of us, and we need additions to the squad.
"Hopefully, if we do that, then by the end of the season we will have showed up one or two people."