Central defender Curtis Davies was delighted to be back out on the pitch following a long road back to recovery after suffering a serious injury last season.
Saturday's 3-2 home win against Birmingham City was Davies’ first league start for the Rams since November 2018 after he suffered a serious achillies injury against Stoke City at the bet365 Stadiu.
It’s been a long road back for the defender.
An operation and rehabilitation work, as well as many hours in the gym, the defender has had a lot to deal with over the last year, but he’s come through it all.
He enjoyed a good pre-season but had only featured in the Carabao Cup under Phillip Cocu before this weekend.
Davies, along with the likes of Chris Martin and Jamie Paterson who both scored against Birmingham, has had to wait patiently for his chance but once given it, he took it against the Blues.
“We are experienced players, particularly at this level,” Davies told RamsTV. “We have been around the block a few times and you have to be ready.
“What’s the point of us sitting there and sulking? Because if the manager does call upon us, like he did for this game, then we were ready.
“I’m just thankful we got the win, regardless who played. It was a character-building moment, especially to be pulled back from 2-0 to 2-2, and to win again was brilliant so we are looking forward to Wednesday's game at Barnsley.”
And it was also a proud day for Davies who captained the Rams against his former side with Richard Keogh sidelined for the rest of the season with a serious knee injury.
“It’s something I’m always proud of, particularly for this football club,” he said. “Whoever the captain was today, I was always going to do the same role.
“I don’t change my spots. I will go out there and give my all, and if it’s not good enough, I will hold my hands up and ultimately in the end today, it was good enough and we got the three points.”
The Rams now have two games to go before the next international break.
They head to Barnsley on Wednesday and then Luton Town next Saturday back at Pride Park Stadium.
“We have Barnsley coming up and we have Luton Town, and all due respect, they are good teams in their own right, but us as a club need to be looking to win those games,” he commented.
“I’m just looking forward to it. If I’m hopefully still part of it, then I will be there, put my all on the line and help the lads over the line.”