Derby County striker Jack Marriott has admitted that it has been a difficult start to the season for him, but is determined to make an impact now he has returned to the starting line-up.
The 24-year-old has been working his way back to full fitness following a thigh injury he suffered during pre-season and made his first league start of the campaign in the 1-1 draw with West Bromwich Albion on Saturday afternoon.
Marriott joined Derby from Peterborough United last summer and scored 13 goals in all competitions during his first season for the Rams last term, but the striker has endured a frustrating start to the new campaign.
The forward started the 1-0 win over Scunthorpe United in the EFL Cup earlier this month and scored his first goal against Bristol City last week, but had to wait until the weekend for his first Championship start.
Derby boss Phillip Cocu had resisted the temptation to start Marriott and his decision to leave the striker out of his starting XI has been criticised by some Derby supporters.
However, Marriott has insisted that it was the right decision for the boss to leave him out and is determined to make an impact now he has returned to fitness.
“It’s been a bit of a sticky start, in terms of little niggles and stuff. But those sort of things happen, and it’s just good to get off the back of that now and, hopefully, kick on,” said Marriott, as quoted by the Derby Telegraph.
“I had a slight thigh issue when I was out in America. Unfortunately, that lasted a couple of weeks and I missed pre-season games. So it was difficult – but it was good to get out there.
“It was the right thing to do and I feel better for it. We didn’t want to risk rushing me back and then being out for longer, so it was a sensible play.
“I feel great now. I played 90 at Scunthorpe and had a little bit of a reaction from that – but no issues really. After coming on at Stoke and against Bristol City, I felt great for this one and I really enjoyed it out there.”
Derby are 16th in the Championship table after taking six points from their opening five league games, but are without a win in the competition since their opening game of the season.
This is an encouraging sign for Derby fans. Marriott is a good player and he showed last season that he’s more than capable of scoring goals at this level.
I personally think he’s good enough to be the main striker at Derby and he could have a key role to play for the Rams in the Championship this season.
I think Marriott is right. It would have been difficult for Cocu to resist the temptation to start the striker, but it was probably the right decision in the end and avoided the risk of him injuring himself further.
It has been a frustrating start to the season for Marriott but he seems determined to make an impact now he’s returned to the side and that’s got to be considered an encouraging sign for Derby fans.