Enhancing Derby County’s push for promotion to the Premier League and getting out of the Sky Bet Championship ‘madness’ is the only thing on Cameron Jerome’s mind after he became the club’s first signing of the January transfer window.
The 31-year-old forward completed his switch to the Rams from Norwich City late on Tuesday evening, putting pen to paper on an 18-month contract to bolster the club’s attacking options.
Interestingly, it is a move that could have potentially happened sooner after revealing that Gary Rowett had shown interest in him in the summer.
It may not have come to fruition, but, that said, he is thankful that the 43-year-old has come back for him once more.
“It’s been a long day, but I am delighted to get the paperwork signed and I can’t wait to get started tomorrow morning,” Jerome told RamsTV in an exclusive interview.
“I was quite aware of the interest and I was flattered by it. Gary being the manager that he is, he’s been true to his word and came back for a second time.”
The former England Under-21 international will meet his new team mates on Wednesday as Derby ramp up their preparations for Friday night’s showdown with fellow promotion rivals Bristol City at Pride Park Stadium.
He doesn’t arrive as a complete stranger, however, and there will be at least a couple of familiar faces that will greet him.
Joe Ledley and Bradley Johnson are two players he has crossed paths with and speaking about the pair, he was hugely complimentary of the quality the midfielders bring to the table.
“Joe is a quality player and I was surprised that nobody took a risk on him in the summer,” he said.
“To me, he isn’t even a risk at this level. He’s a proven international footballer with Premier League experience and someone who has won titles up in Scotland.
“That was a no-brainer and was a great piece of business by Derby. Brad has been promoted with Norwich a couple of times and he’s a big player for Derby now too.”
Jerome could potentially make his debut against the Robins and ahead of the final 19 games of the season, the forward’s focus is on how he can contribute to the club’s promotion push.
Assessing Derby’s current situation as a newcomer and from what he has seen so far, he feels the club has ‘got all of the tools’ to finally return to the top-flight.
“This is a great opportunity for me to come and play for another fantastic club,” Jerome said.
“I’ve been privileged throughout my career so far to play for some wonderful clubs throughout the years and I’m looking forward to this challenge.
“Derby is a club that has got all of the tools to be in the Premier League and with the way that this season has gone so far, that’s looking like a strong possibility.
“The team has been flying and the form that the team has shown over the last five weeks has been brilliant.
“The team is full of confidence and team spirit and hopefully I can add to that. I want to have a positive impact to this squad and keep this momentum going.”