Reds boss David Flitcroft is confident “clean sheets” will see his side rise up the Championship table.
The Reds have leaked a worrying 30 goals in 13 games so far this season, the worst defensive record in the division.
But a battling 3-2 win over Middlesbrough and a hard-fought 1-1 draw with South Yorkshire derby rivals Sheffield Wednesday has taken some of the pressure off under-fire Flitcroft.
“If I’m being honest I stay away from the emotion [of winning and what it does for the team],” said Flitcroft.
“I keep telling the players that we have a plan, stick to the plan, but the next thing we need to is keep clean sheets. That’s the barometer where we need to get to. It’s something we’re working really hard at.
“If we start getting cleansheets then we start rising up the table. Clean sheets will give us the momentum to move forward.
“We’re trying to get the balance right in scoring goals and keeping cleansheets. We’re desperate to find the answers.
“We’ll keep working at that. We’ve got to be better at keeping clean sheets.”
The Reds face Ipswich Town at Portman Road on Friday night looking to build on four points from their last two Championship outings.
And Flitcroft knows a victory against the Tractor Boys could see the Reds haul themselves out of the relegation zone after a frustrating start to the season.
“Our plan is to keep a clean sheet against Ipswich,” stressed Flitcroft. “They’ve got honesty and loyalty to each other, so it’s going to be real head on collision. I’m really looking forward to the game.”
The Reds have lost all six of their away matches in the league this season and have not won away in their last 15 matches, a run which stems back to February last season.
Goalkeeper Luke Steele remains sidelined with a back injury, while Crystal Palace loan centre-back Peter Ramage remains a long-term absentee with a torn thigh muscle. Paddy McCourt is a major doubt because of a slight tear in a buttock muscle.