Frank Lampard hailed the “incredible” support that his side will receive on Saturday as he prepares for his first game in charge of Derby County in front of a sold out away end at Meadow Lane.
The Rams take on Notts County on Saturday (kick-off: 3pm) for the first of five scheduled pre-season clashes, as Lampard prepares his side for the 2018/19 Sky Bet Championship campaign.
Over 4,000 Derby fans will be in Nottingham for the game and Lampard displayed his gratitude for the support, even before a ball has been kicked.
He told RamsTV: “To sell 4,000-plus tickets is incredible for an early pre-season game, and I can only thank the fans in advance because that’s an incredible turnout.
“I know what great support we have here anyway, but what a great start that is for us.
“It’s a great boost for me and the staff, but more so for the players.
“We have trained hard and we will try to put on a performance. We are still working individually on fitness, we are working collectively on fitness and tactics, and hopefully the 4,000-plus fans will see signs of what is to come this year.
“We have worked on subtle changes, because when there is a message that you want to get across, you don’t want to bombard the players with too much information.
“Hopefully, the fans will be able to see what we are trying to do, with a positive performance individually and collectively.”
Lampard is expecting to be able to give the majority of the squad a run out against the Magpies on Saturday.
Whilst he believes that there is a desire from the team to impress their new manager, he hopes that the players are more motivated by the opportunity to put themselves in a good position for the season ahead.
He said: “The players should always fight to get into the eleven, and it can obviously change.
“I know that they are working hard. It’s human nature to try and impress the new manager, but more importantly, I hope that they are doing it for themselves.
“The more that you can get out of yourself in pre-season and the harder you work, you are showing the staff and their teammates what you’re doing and that puts you in a good position.
“We have a big enough squad here, so I will try to give everybody minutes.”
The boss also spoke about the arrival of Shay Given as Head Goalkeeping Coach, after the former Republic of Ireland international checked in for the first time on Monday.
“I’m absolutely delighted to have Shay here, we are very lucky to have him in the building because his experience and career speaks for itself,” he said.
“There is absolute respect for someone who won 134 international caps and made so many appearances at the top level.
“What he brings in terms of personality, experience and knowledge; he is a well-qualified coach.
“He’s one of those characters that you feed off when he walks into a room and he will be great for us.”