Graeme Shinnie was happy to get another 45 minutes of work into his legs on Saturday afternoon as Derby County faced Salford City in their latest pre-season match as they took another step towards the opening game of the 2021/22 season.
It was the Rams’ second of four public pre-season friendlies as Shinnie played in the second half of the 2-1 defeat, following his 60 minute run-out against Manchester United last weekend.
A penalty was converted by Josh Morris in the first half for the Ammies, before Tom Elliott’s header double their lead early in the second half.
Despite the Rams’ creativity and abundance of chances, they were only able to take advantage of one good move that saw Craig Forsyth’s cross turned into his own net by Salford’s Jordan Turnbull late in the second half.
Shinnie said the team could take positives from the creativity, while finding plenty to work on in the converting of those chances from the game as they head into the final weeks of pre-season.
“I am feeling good. I missed a little bit of work in the week as I was at a funeral, so it was tough having not trained for a few days,” Shinnie told RamsTV having just completed more running with the fitness staff following the final whistle.
“I am delighted to get some more minutes into the legs and take another stride towards the first game of the season.
He added: “I am always disappointed to lose a game, doesn’t matter if it is a friendly or not.
“I felt like we controlled large parts of it, well most of it really, but we were just not clinical enough in the final third, which we need to work on and get better at.
“I think if we were clinical today, we had plenty of chances to win the game and we conceded two goals in the only real chances they had. It is a frustration of ours, so there is plenty still to work on.”
The games against Manchester United and Salford have given the Rams chance to put into practice the work they have been putting in on the training pitches as Wayne Rooney – in his first pre-season as a manager – looks to instil his style and philosophies into the team.
Shinnie is positive that the work Derby are putting in will come to fruition at by the start of the season as another practice run against the Ammies took them another step towards their Sky Bet Championship opener against Huddersfield Town in a fortnight.
“It has been a good pre-season for the gaffer and the staff to get work into us,” the midfielder said. “We are still getting up to match fitness and match speed and I guess these chances will get finished when the people get the right sharpness into them. It will come.
“We have got two more friendlies coming up, so it is time for us to start winning games and getting a bit of momentum going into the first day of the season."
The next stop on Derby’s pre-season preparations is a meeting with Spanish side Real Betis at Pride Park Stadium on Wednesday (7pm kick-off).
As well as the chance to bank more minutes and get sharper, Shinnie is excited to again be reunited with the home fans after their return last weekend against Manchester United.
He said: “We enjoy playing at Pride Park, especially now having the fans back, however many we are allowed. We will rest up now, recover from this, we will work hard until that game and look to go and win it.”