Tom Lawrence is determined to make up for lost time and play a key role in Derby County’s remaining matches of the 2020/21 Sky Bet Championship season.
The 27-year-old Wales international forward has recently returned from a three-month lay-off with an ankle injury.
He made his first start since mid-December in Derby’s 2-0 home win over Luton Town on Easter Friday and produced a fine performance as Wayne Rooney’s side claimed a much-needed win.
Lawrence’s injury, which was picked up in the 0-0 draw at home to Stoke City in the final month of 2020, proved to be a troublesome and frustrating one to recover from.
The versatile forward is fired up to play his part in the remaining weeks of the season after such a frustrating period of watching on from the sidelines.
Speaking to RamsTV after the win over Luton, Lawrence said: “I had a long time out with a very frustrating injury and it has probably been one of the toughest injuries of my career.
“It is just joy to be out there again and playing football.
“I tried to come back three or four times, but I had bone bruising and you can’t really do anything other than let it heal.
“I thought I was alright and then I would go to change direction or certain little things, I just couldn’t do it. The soreness in my ankle was too much. It was very frustrating because there was no cure for it, it was just a matter of time, but hopefully now I am through the worst of it.”
Lawrence added: “I have to give credit to the physios and medical team for getting me back.”
Lawrence’s individual performance in the victory over Luton saw him named as the fans’ Man of the Match on social media.
He was involved in Lee Gregory’s well-worked early opener and won the penalty which Graeme Shinnie converted just after half-time.
The win, the side’s first in seven matches, took Derby eight point clear of the bottom three with seven matches left to play.
Lawrence says the side are not resting on their laurels as they prepare to take on play-off hopefuls Reading away from home on Easter Monday (3pm kick-off).
“I try to be positive when I have the ball and the main thing on Friday was the three points,” Lawrence said. “We know what the situation we are in is and we will go again Monday at Reading.
“The three points against Luton were massive, that was our only aim and it should be for every game.
“We go into every match we play trying to win, that is the way we are as a team. We are a tight-knit group in the dressing room and the game at Reading will be another tough one, but we will go out there to try and win.”
He added: “We know what type of player the manager wants, he wants positivity out on the pitch and I try and bring that every time I put on the shirt, make sure I work hard for the team and try to score a goal or help the team to win.”