Derby County striker Martyn Waghorn has admitted it is a ‘huge relief’ to be back on the pitch after a frustrating spell out of action.
The 30-year-old missed the start of the 2020/21 Sky Bet Championship campaign due to injury.
He picked up a calf problem during pre-season and it resulted in him being out of action for around two months.
Waghorn resumed full training earlier this month and, following a brief outing off the bench against Huddersfield Town last Tuesday, he made his first start of the campaign at Nottingham Forest on Friday night.
The frontman marked his comeback in emphatic fashion as he fired home a superb free-kick to give Derby the lead in the 1-1 draw at the City Ground.
After returning to the first-team set-up, Waghorn is raring to go and determined to help Phillip Cocu’s side to climb the Championship table.
“It has been a weird one,” Waghorn told RamsTV. “It is just disappointing because you see the results and the games and as a player you live to play football.
“I kick every ball when I’m not able to play and it was frustrating to not be out there and helping the team.
“I feel like I have got a lot of experience and I can help the team. We have got a great mix of youth and experience and it is great to be back.
“It was just a huge relief to get the first start against Forest and I just wanted to help the team to try and get the three points.
“I know the work has just started for me to work on my fitness, get more minutes under my belt and keep working hard.”
The relentless nature of the Championship means there are more fixtures on the agenda for Derby between now and the November international break.
Waghorn says the Rams are fired up to pick up as many points as possible in the next two weeks, especially with three of their upcoming four matches being on home turf.
Next up for Derby is a midweek clash against Cardiff City at Pride Park Stadium on Wednesday night (7:45pm kick-off).
Waghorn said: “You pride yourself on your home form and home wins are crucial throughout the course of the season.
“We know it is different without the fans at the minute. The way we played at Forest, with the energy and the enthusiasm, we have got to take that into the next game.
“We have got great quality players going forward and a solid base at the back now, so it gives us as forward players a bit more license to go and do what we can do best with a bit of freedom.”
He added: “I believe we have got an abundance of quality in the team. For me, it is a joy to be back playing and helping the lads. Hopefully, we can get the three points at home against Cardiff and that would be the next big step.”