Martyn Waghorn was delighted to get more pre-season minutes under his belt and as he got off the mark with a hat-trick in Derby County's 5-2 friendly victory at Burton Albion.
The striker bagged the first three goals for the Rams in the first-half in Phillip Cocu’s first game in charge on English soil.
He then provided the assist to Mason Bennett for the fourth with a pin-point cross before Max Bird rolled in the final goal in added time.
Waghorn, along with the majority of the starting XI, built up to 80 minutes in their third pre-season fixture with his goals coming within a 37-minute span.
Despite it being a pre-season friendly, the forward was happy to find the back of the net and is hoping that will carry forward into the league campaign.
“It is nice to get off the mark, all the hard work over the last few weeks has showed off,” Waghorn told RamsTV after the final whistle.
“I think we started the game a bit sloppy, we can always get a bit better, but it was a good run out. Burton are a competitive side, we know what they are about and it was nice to get on the scoresheet with a hat-trick.
“Early on in the season you want to you want to come back and hit the ground running.
“I have been working a lot with Twan Scheepers, our Specialist First Team Coach, and doing a lot of work offensively so selfishly I could have got more, but I am happy with the run out.”
The Rams are now in the thick of pre-season with a ten-day training camp in Florida in the bank as well as pre-season victories against Sarasota Metropolis, Bristol City and Burton Albion where minutes have been built up for the squad.
The games have given Derby a chance to put in to practice the work they have been doing over the past two-and-a-half weeks under new manager, Cocu, and his staff.
Waghorn said he is seeing the developments and with each game, the philosophies and ideas of the manager are coming together more.
He said: “We have worked really hard. Touch wood I haven’t picked up any niggles or any interferences in the build up to where we are now.
“I am in a good place and I think the lads have built today with 80 minutes under our belts in a competitive match. It is always difficult to win here, and we have another two difficult games coming up. We are all happy as a team, going forward the manager's work is paying off on the playing pitch."
He added: “From the first moment he came in he set the style of how he wants to play, and it was not too much of a transition from the previous manager.
“He has tweaked a few things and changed a few different styles of play. I think with the lads that we have got, it suits the way we play, in transition, breaking – I think we broke a lot quicker this time round.
“It is just little things that he is implementing in our heads and hopefully it will show in the course of the season.”
Next up, the Rams will return to Pride Park for the first time since the end of the 2018/19 season to face Spanish side, Girona.
The 29-year-old expects another tough test as they prepare for the start of the season when the Rams travel to Huddersfield Town in just over two weeks time.
“I can imagine they will keep the ball well so we will have to be well organised which is another thing we have been working on with the new manager and staff in how quickly we can recover, how quickly we can get into shapes and when we do break, how quickly we can nullify their attack,” Waghorn said.
“It is always nice to walk out at Pride Park as well.”