Sky Bet Championship: Steve McClaren coy on Derby's promotion chances after Bournemouth win
Derby's Steve McClaren refused to get carried away after a 1-0 win over Bournemouth, as Eddie Howe remained realistic.
Last Updated: 23/11/13 7:14pm
Northern Ireland international Ward fired past former Ram Lee Camp to finish off a fine team goal after 61 minutes.
Former England boss McClaren has now won four of his six games in charge at Derby since taking over from Nigel Clough in October.
His arrival has seen the club sneak up to seventh in the Sky Bet Championship, one point off a play-off spot.
But the former FC Twente manager is not thinking about the Premier League just yet.
McClaren said: "It is hard to say if we are play-off material. I said before the match we just go week to week and enjoy what we are doing.
"I do not look at the league table until March or April and just hope that we are still in contention in the top eight at that point so we can have a good end to the season.
"The squad is improving and long may it continue. When we played football today we were very good.
"We could have had more goals but in the end our defenders and goalkeeper were great in helping us hold on when they threw the kitchen sink at us.
"It was an unbelievable team goal and it was just reward from what was a gritty performance and one that keeps our momentum going."
Derby started brightly on the south-coast and Camp had to keep out Ward twice and striker Chris Martin before his side had a sniff at goal.
Cherries record signing Tokelo Rantie latched on to a Lewis Grabban ball and turned inside Jake Buxton but could not find a way past Lee Grant.
After Ward's fifth strike of the campaign just after the hour following a pinpoint cross from Forsyth, Eddie Howe's men pushed for the equaliser.
Eunan O'Kane headed over after 73 minutes before substitutes Matt Ritchie and Ryan Fraser dragged efforts wide late on.
After seeing his side pick up just two points out of 15 and one win in nine, Howe wants a reality check on what his side can achieve.
Howe said: "I thought Derby were good today and the best team we have played this season.
"We don't like losing games as it is certainly something we are not used to.
"I said at the start of the year that any expectation other than survival is way out of what it should be.
"We have not made wholesale changes so no one can expect anything other than to consolidate in the Championship and that is our aim.
"There does need to be that check in expectation."