Striker Andreas Weimann cannot wait for Derby County’s return to Championship action against Sunderland tonight (7.45pm kick-off).
While the Black Cats need points to bolster their fight for survival at the bottom, Derby are eager to end a seven-game run without a win which threatens to derail their play-off ambitions.
Almost three weeks since their last game, a 0-0 draw with Nottingham Forest, Weimann is keen to get back to work.
“I’ve scored a couple of goals and I’ve been feeling well in the games, but it’s also be nice to have a little bit of a rest and now I’m fresh and ready to go again,” the former Aston Villa man told Rams TV. “We recharged our batteries – it was nice to have a few days off with our families.
“Now we’ve got these games in mind, with just over a month left, and we are ready to go.”
Weimann will not be complacent against the Black Cats, despite their miserable campaign which has brought a meagre five wins in 38 games.
The 26-year-old Austrian added: “Most people would expect us to win, because obviously their position and our position.
“We know it’s not going to be easy because they are still fighting for their livesd.
“They want to stay up, they’re not going to give up. So it’s definitely going to be a tough game tfor us. We want to win and we need to win.”
Derby could have 18-goal top scorer Matej Vydra fit for the game, after a groin problem forced him to miss out against Forest on March 11.
Boss Gary Rowett said: “Vyds went over to Prague to get some treatment and a little bit of rest for a couple of days. He came back feeling a lot better.
“He looks OK in the (training) sessions he has had.
“You always look at players and how they come back, and whether they are at their sharpest to be available.”
Derby’s fitness problems have eased, since Joe Ledley, George Thorne, Tom Lawrence, Cameron Jerome, Richard Keogh, David Nugent and Marcus Olsson were all doubts for the visit of Cardiff which was postponed two weeks ago.
Rowett added: “We have certainly got a much healthier looking group of players available.
“If there is no game for two weeks never mind almost three weeks, there is going to be a chance you get some of those players back. We have been pleased with that.
“The medical team has done a lot of good work with all the injured players, it has been a testing time for them.