Andreas Weimann says he’s pleased to put his injury frustration behind him after making his comeback following six weeks out of action.
The 25-year-old Austrian international forward picked up a knee injury in training just two days before the start of the 2016/17 season.
The injury ruled him out of action for six weeks, forcing him to miss the opening weeks of the campaign.
Weimann returned to full training last week and made an immediate return to the squad, coming off the bench in the 1-1 draw against Bristol City before starting in Tuesday’s EFL Cup Round Three tie against Liverpool.
The 2015 summer signing from Aston Villa admits that being sidelined after impressing boss Nigel Pearson over the course of pre-season training was the worst possible time.
He told Rams Player HD: “It is good to be back and I was really pleased to make my first start against Liverpool.
“I am happy to be back on the pitch because after a hard pre-season, to be out of action for six weeks just before the season started was not ideal.
“It was, in a way, the worst time to get injured, it was two days before the season started and I think I had a good chance of starting the game against Brighton.
“I enjoyed pre-season and since then I’ve had a gap in terms of training ground time with the manager and the staff with me being injured, but the build-up to the season was hard work and enjoyable. It’s good to be back with the team.”
On his general fitness, Weimann added: “I feel I still have a bit of catching up to do. I feel fit but there’s a difference between being fit and match fit.
“Obviously, I hope to play my part in the next three games to get a bit more game time under my belt and feel sharper going into the international break.”
Weimann says he doesn’t recall picking up the knee injury in training just over 48 hours before the season-opener against Brighton & Hove Albion.
His knee swelled following the conclusion of the session and, following diagnosis from the medical team, it was revealed that he would sit the first and month and a half of the campaign.
He says having to watch on from the stands was a frustrating period on an individual basis.
“I didn’t actually know I was injured at first, I just had some swelling in my knee,”he admitted.
“There wasn’t was a specific moment, I was a bit tight in my hamstring after training and then my knee was swollen. It was hard to take when I found out I’d be out for six weeks.
“It always is difficult watching from the stands when you’re injured because you want to be out there helping the team.
“Obviously we know we haven’t started as well as we would have liked but we’ve got a lot of games left and we know that we’re capable of improving.”
Weimann admits he returned to the matchday squad earlier than he was expecting, but he certainly wasn’t complaining.
Following two days of training, Pearson drafted him into the squad to face Lee Johnson’s side.
He came off the bench just before the hour mark at Ashton Gate after goalscorer Ikechi Anya sustained a blow to the ribs earlier in the game.
He said: “I had a hard session on the Thursday ahead of the game at Ashton Gate and on the Friday, the day before the game, the workload was a bit lighter.
“The gaffer asked me, after training, if I was alright to be on the bench and I wasn’t going to say no!
“When he said I was coming on I was even happier, even though I was a bit out of breath not long after coming on.
“The boss said to me at half-time to be ready as Ikechi Anya had a knock to his ribs.
“I must admit, I was a bit surprised but I felt good for getting the game time under my belt and it was just a shame we didn’t get the win that we wanted.“
Weimann says Derby’s upcoming three-game week is an important time for the team.
Having recorded one win and three draws from their opening seven games of the campaign, the Austrian says it is important to go into the October international break in a good run of form.
Goals have been in short supply so far this term, with two scored in the league, and Weimann insists the fact the Rams are creating opportunities is an encouraging sign – and it is down to the players to take them.
He said: “It’s a big week for us with three games, starting against Blackburn at home.
“We know that if we perform to the level that we know that we’re capable of, we can go into the international break with a good points return.
“We really want the win against Blackburn in front of the home fans to set us up nicely and start building some momentum and come back from the international break refreshed and ready to kick on again.
“Everyone knows we’re capable of scoring more goals as a team; we’ve had the chances and hopefully we can start taking them sooner rather than later.
“It’s obviously surprising in a way given the quality we have that we’ve not scored more, but we proved at Bristol City that we’re creating chances and it’s down to us to take them.”
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