Frank Lampard is eager to get pre-season training underway after the release of Derby County’s Sky Bet Championship fixtures as he aims to make an impact from the opening game.
The Rams will embark on the 2018/19 season under the first-time manager who believes he has a “strong enough squad” to have a successful season.
Lampard told RamsTV: “It definitely gets the juices flowing when you see the fixtures.
“Pre-season starts next week and it is something to really build to now. I’ll be looking to get firing straight away.”
All eyes will be on Lampard and the Rams as they kick-start the entire Championship season live on Sky Sports when they visit Reading under the Madejski Stadium lights on Friday 3rd August.
As he takes his first steps into management, the former Chelsea midfielder is fully aware the spotlight will be on him and Derby.
However, the extra pressure is something he relishes in and he hopes that will translate to the players too.
“I am used to pressure, I like it, I feed off that,” he said.
“If there is an added pressure, hopefully it is a good one and we all react to it, not just myself.
“It’s about us winning games so whether it is live on Sky on Friday night or we are traveling away and it’s not on Sky, we need to be at it. We need to turn that extra pressure into a positive.”
Derby’s opening game is highlighted by Lampard as one he is particularly excited about.
It is a landmark game for him personally as his first competitive game from the dugout, but it is also exciting for the team.
Derby will look to jump into action by carrying the momentum from the final weeks of last season as they face their former boss, Paul Clement, who also coached Lampard during his playing days.
“The first one is huge. I know Paul and he has a relationship with the club from before, so it will be a big game for us on the Friday night.
“It’s a brilliant one to get us started.
“Obviously there are the Forest games too. I already knew about the rivalry but I have been reminded and been very quickly told by the fans how important that is for them.
“So, December at home, February away will be two massive games.
“First home game, Leeds, what a game for the fans. We will be at it and I’m looking forward to it.”
The Championship is a relentless league, with 46 fixtures providing a gruelling season for every team.
Lampard insists his players’ pre-season will set the groundwork for the Rams to withstand and flourish during the season. That begins next week, when the players return.
Lampard added: “Firstly, you have to get your work in in pre-season to be ready and we want to start well.
“Hopefully that big bulk of fitness and tactical work in pre-season will carry through. We know it’s tough, there is no way to dodge around that but I believe we have a strong enough squad to do really well.”