Jack Marriott says he is pleased to have put his injury frustration behind him after making his comeback from groin surgery this week.
The striker came off the bench in Derby’s Sky Bet Championship defeats to Cardiff City in midweek and Leeds United on Sunday after going under the knife in June.
The problem had plagued Marriott for most of the campaign, although he has still managed to record 36 appearances in all competitions.
Marriott, 25, has played through the pain barrier for most of the season and is now looking forward to putting a frustrating period behind him.
The 2018 signing from Peterborough United is keen to ensure, with just one game remaining in Derby’s 2019/20 Sky Bet Championship campaign, he hits the ground running ahead of next season.
“It’s great to be back,” Marriott told RamsTV.
“It (the injury) got to the stage where I was taking umpteen amounts of pain killers to get through, even just training. Surgery was necessary and then everything that happened with COVID-19 and the lockdown it just delayed it.”
“When you are in and around the squad you don’t want to take a four to six week hit because then you think you might struggle to get back in. So, you just do what is necessary, like any footballer does, you put yourself through the pain barrier with pain killers to get through training to matchdays.
“We had the surgery set up ready for the end of the season, as just before lockdown there were nine games left, so we thought we could just get through it but unfortunately that wasn’t the case.”
He added: “It is a real positive for me to be back and even play a part in this season, we weren’t 100 per cent sure as the surgery was getting delayed.
“Considering we didn’t think I would be playing a part in the rest of the season, to get back this quick is pleasing on a personal note to get back involved in the squad and in and around the lads. Hopefully, it sets me up well for a good season next year.”
Reviewing the 3-1 loss to Leeds on Sunday, Marriott admitted Derby were disappointed to go from 1-0 up early in the second half to conceding three goals.
Leeds, who were crowned as champions over the weekend following their 1-0 win over Barnsley on Thursday, took advantage of mistakes from the Rams to claim all three points.
“I think that we started the second half well and we deserved the goal,” he said. “We are disappointed with their goals, though.
“I feel like we worked really hard to get in front and then to get pegged back two minutes later was disappointing.
“We don’t like making mistakes and unfortunately it has cost us today. If there is ever a team you do not give chances to, it’s Leeds.”