The 2019/20 campaign has been youngster Jason Knight’s ‘breakthrough’ year at Derby County.
The 19-year-old Academy graduate has so far made 26 appearances over the course of the season.
The midfielder made his professional debut off the bench in Derby’s 2-1 victory at Huddersfield Town on the opening day of the campaign and his league debut followed by the end of August.
Knight, who signed a new long-term contract earlier this year, scored his first professional goals in Derby’s 2-1 home win over Charlton Athletic at the end of December.
He is one of a number of players to have progressed from the Academy this season and onto the first-team scene, alongside the likes of fellow midfielders Max Bird and Louie Sibley.
However, the 2019/20 season was halted in March owing to the COVID-19 pandemic and the football authorities collectively that the professional game will not resume until it is safe to do so.
Following advice from the UK Government several weeks ago, Derby’s players have had to keep themselves in shape at home and follow fitness programmes to ensure they are raring to go for when the time comes that football can be played again.
Knight admits while the unexpected break has provided a period of reflection, it has been difficult to look on a campaign which currently has nine games left to play.
Speaking to RamsTV as part of Derby’s ‘Stay Fit. Stay Safe. Stay Connected.’ initiative, Knight said: “At the time football stopped we were on a good run, but no-one was prepared for all this.
“When we do get back, I am sure we will work hard to get back to fitness and where we were.
“The time has given a chance to look back and reflect on the season with the family face-to-face. But it is a bit difficult because the season hasn’t finished yet, so when it officially ends or whatever happens then I will be able to look back on the year as a whole.”
He added: “It’s been good to spend some time with the family but at the same time, I’ve been keen to get back as everyone just misses that day-to-day stuff which can be taken for granted sometimes.”
Knight, who this week returned to Derby after returning to his native Ireland, has been remaining in shape by following an individual training programme.
He says everyone in the Rams’ squad has been determined to maintain their fitness to ensure they are in a good place when training resumes.
Knight said: “I suppose we will need a chunk of time to get fit and ready for games when they come around, but the programmes that we’ve been provided with by the club have been really good.
“I have heard everyone has done everything asked of them, and extras too, so when we do come back everyone will be in good shape. No-one wants to be behind and instead we want to be ahead of the curve and be as fit as possible.”
He added: “When we can get back, it will be nice to see the lads again. The training and games are really good, but those day-to-day chats with the boys, even though we’ve stayed in touch, is probably what I have missed the most.”