Stewart Downing is looking forward to facing his former England team-mate Frank Lampard when Derby visit the Riverside on Saturday.
Lampard, 40, took charge of the Rams in the summer - his first managerial role after retiring as a player in 2017.
The former Chelsea midfielder has made a promising start in the dugout, winning seven of his first 14 games in the Championship.
A convincing 4-1 victory over promotion rivals West Brom in midweek saw Derby rise to fifth in the table, just two points off Boro and league leaders Leeds.
The Rams were devastating going forward, as goals from Jack Marriott, Tom Lawrence, Harry Wilson and Scott Malone saw then run out comfortable winners at the Hawthorns.
Just 24 hours earlier, Boro were held to a frustrating 0-0 against Rotherham, as Tony Pulis' side missed the chance to open up a gap at the top of the table.
Downing is under no illusions it will be a difficult game this weekend, but also believes his own side can cause problems.
"I think knowing Frank as I do, they'll come and have a go," said Downing.
"They'll play football, and - not in an arrogant way - they'll want to be better than us, and they'll come to win.
"It'll be a another difficult game because they've got some good players, and if it's the Frank Lampard I knew as a player, they will look to be adventurous with the ball.
"But maybe there will be a few more spaces for us to open them up than there were against Rotherham."
Just six points separate the top 13 teams in the second tier, and a win for either Boro or Derby in Saturday's early kick-off would see them rise to the top.
Boro were booed off the pitch by some sections of the Riverside crowd on Tuesday night, and Pulis' men have now gone over four and a half hours without scoring on home turf.
Downing insists the players were just as frustrated following the forgetable stalemate, but they won't dwell on the result.
"There's not many points in it," said Downing.
"It would have been good to get a win going into Saturday and we have to put that right.
"The good thing is, in this division you're playing every three days and you don't have time to dwell on it.
"Our manager's not that type anyway, we'll put it to bed and move on to what will be another tough, tough game."