Midfielder Conor Hourihane is looking forward to the start of a new project after signing a two-year contract with Derby County.

The 31-year-old today became the latest player to join the Rams after leaving Premier League side Aston Villa earlier this summer.

The Republic of Ireland international has played at every level of the English pyramid but now, in the prime of his career, he believes in the rebuild project taking place at Pride Park Stadium this season.

He spoke exclusively to RamsTV about his reasons for signing for the club as well as a chance meeting which took place between himself and interim boss Liam Rosenior.

On Signing For Derby County…

I’m absolutely delighted and it’s great to get it done. It’s been bubbling away for a little bit over the last couple of weeks but I’m pleased to get it done. I’m really excited and I feel like it’s an exciting time for the club.

I’m 31 now and I was looking for something that was going to excite me and I was going to be a big part of. Fortunately enough for myself, I have played all the way up from League Two to the Premier League so analysing it this summer as a free agent, I was thinking what do I want next and what do I want to achieve and be part of. Derby ticked all the boxes. Everyone knows the difficulties here over the last couple of years but it’s a fresh start, new takeover and the excitement is here and that’s why I’m here and want to be a part of it.

On Being Up For The Challenge…

I’m up for it. My workrate to achieve what I have in my career is all about hard work and rising up to challenges so I’m excited for it and I can be a big part of where the club wants to go.

On Derby’s Campaign Last Season…

I’m obsessed with football so when I look into it, it’s hard not to see what’s gone on here. What the club did last year was pretty fantastic in the terms that they did in the circumstances. It’s not been easy and I know a few people in the background. John Hartley, the physiotherapist here, was at Aston Villa and I know Jason Knight from the Ireland international team, so I’ve had snippets from them both on how difficult it has been. It’s time to leave that behind us now and start a new chapter. Full steam ahead.

It's always nice to come into a club and know a couple of people. John and Knighty are two good people who you can lean on. It’s a funny story how I met up with Liam Rosenior. Being a free agent, I was out for lunch in a restaurant with my wife and two kids and Liam so happened to be in there as a little bit of fate. We got talking for five or ten minutes after my kids ran up to his table and caused a bit of noise and low and behold weeks later I’m here so maybe there was a little bit of fate in that.

There is a feel-good factor around the place. There are new signings already here, there is more to come no doubt and I’m looking forward to the season to start.

On The Supporters…

I’m on social media and you see messages from them, of course. I know how big the club is so the bigger the club, the more messages you get. I’ve played at the home ground a few times so I know how big it is. I know the history of not being where it should be and the realism is we are where we are but together with the fans and with everyone, we are looking to drive forward and get the club going again. I’m really excited to get going, delighted to be here and can’t wait to get going.