On-loan defender Matt Clarke says Derby County’s players are ready to ‘get down to business’ ahead of their 2020/21 season opener this weekend.
Derby’s campaign will get underway on Saturday afternoon at Pride Park Stadium when they face Sky Bet League 2 side Barrow AFC in the First Round of the Carabao Cup (12pm kick-off).
The game, under EFL guidelines due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will follow the same process as the latter stages of the 2019/20 campaign in being played behind-closed-doors.
Clarke, who last month re-joined the Rams for the campaign from Premier League side Brighton & Hove Albion after a successful spell on loan last season, is looking forward to returning to competitive action.
The cup clash with last term’s National League champions will get the campaign underway less then two months after the conclusion of the 2019/20 season.
Centre-back Clarke, 23, has stressed that Derby must be on their game if they are to navigate their way into the Second Round of the competition.
“The games are what we look forward to as players,” Clarke told RamsTV.
“We’d rather it come around quick, so it’s nice to get down to actual business now.
“We know that you have to respect your opponent but concentrate on your own performance as well.
“You need to get your own details and fundamentals right and then, hopefully, that will be enough to get the job done and we can get ourselves in the next round.”
Clarke has quickly settled back into life with Derby after sealing his return to the club early last week.
His loan spell with the Rams last season saw the defender become a key player under manager Phillip Cocu.
He recorded 37 appearances in all competitions and his solid displays were rewarded as he went on to win the Jack Stamps Player of the Year accolade.
Clarke was a popular player off the field too with his team-mates, meaning it has been easy to slot back into a dressing room he is already acquainted with.
“It’s been really good being back in and amongst the group,” Clarke said.
“I think the first day was about catching up with everyone and after it was all about getting back to work; it’s all been good.
“With the shortened break between the end of last season and the current campaign, it feels like I’ve not been away.”