Midfielder Tom Huddlestone is excited to start the new Sky Bet Championship season under new Derby County manager Phillip Cocu.
The 32-year-old has featured regularly for Derby in pre-season and was a key figure in the 5-2 win over Burton Albion in the stand-out friendly display.
He is now into his third season back with the Rams after rejoining the club back in 2017 from Hull City and he is keen to get going under the boss and start the season positively.
“We have a new manager and his ideas have been very good so far and everyone is buying into them,” he told RamsTV.
“The lads feel raring to go. After the disappointment of the Play-Off Final at the end of May, you just want to get the competitive games started as soon as possible.”
The Rams' pre-season work is set to be important in the opening month of the season.
The Rams could potentially have eight competitive fixtures in the month, including league and cup games, but Huddlestone is accustomed to the challenges the Championship can throw up.
“You know the Championship comes thick and fast,” he said. “We are in the early stages of the cup as well so that’s another game as well so it is what it is.
“That’s what the five or six weeks of pre-season are for, to put yourself in good stead and get yourself up and running for the season.
“The management always spread out the minutes for the players but if it does turn out to be seven or eight games in August, then everyone can say they are at a certain fitness level and ready to go.”
Derby face a trip to Huddersfield Town, who were relegated from the Premier League, on Monday night in front of the Sky Sports cameras to get the campaign underway and the midfielder knows it will be a tough game.
“All the newly-relegated teams, unless they lose the heart and sole of their squad, which I don’t think they have, will expect to be there or there abouts,” he commented.
“They have a newish manager in charge now and he will have his own ideas and thye will be confident of a good season.”