ANDI WEIMANN

The Derby striker is ea­ger to seize his new chance with the Rams

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By Rich Dore

ANDI Weimann didn’t know if he was com­ing or go­ing last sea­son – but this time he is fo­cused solely on play­ing for Gary Rowett at Derby.

Former Birm­ing­ham boss Rowett took over at Derby in March, when Weimann was out on loan at Wolves.

He had joined them in Jan­uary af­ter be­ing largely re­stricted to sub­sti­tute ap­pear­ances for the Rams in the first half of the sea­son un­der first Nigel Pear­son and then Steve McClaren.

Weimann was at the EFL me­dia launch in the play­ers’ lounge at his old club As­ton Villa – and the Aus­trian spoke while sit­ting un­der­neath a framed pic­ture of him­self scor­ing the win­ner in Villa’s 3-2 win over Manch­ester City in 2013.

“I know ex­actly which game this is, yes. I re­mem­ber it well, I think Le­an­dro (Ba­cuna) scored a free-kick as well.

“I had great times here. I was here for eight years but I’m re­ally en­joy­ing things where I am at Derby now.

“Pre-sea­son’s been good, it’s ob­vi­ously been tough but I’ve en­joyed it. Run­ning’s one of my strong points re­ally. It wasn’t too bad for me.

“I was out on loan last sea­son, so I’ve come back and tried to im­press the new man­ager. I’m hop­ing I can get my chances this year.

“I spoke to Gary on the first day of pre-sea­son. I’d not met him be­fore. He said that just be­cause I went out on loan it didn’t mean I wasn’t in his plans.

In­ter­ested

“He said it’s a fresh start for me be­cause he’s not seen me be­fore ei­ther. I’ve had pre­sea­son now and, hope­fully, he likes what he sees.

“I don’t mind where I play, left wing, right wing, any­where re­ally. I’m hop­ing I’ll be play­ing, so it doesn’t mat­ter where.

“In pre-sea­son, though, I’ve been play­ing left so I think that’s where the man­ager sees me.” Weimann, 25, scored three times in 21 ap­pear­ances while on loan at Mo­lineux, play­ing for his old boss Paul Lam­bert.

Wolves were un­der­stood to be in­ter­ested in sign­ing the for­ward on a per­ma­nent deal be­fore Nuno Espir­ito Santo re­placed Lam­bert as man­ager.

Weimann is now fo­cused on the Rams’ new sea­son and picked out a cou­ple of play­ers, in­clud­ing an ex-col­league, who can help lift the club to pro­mo­tion. “In pre-sea­son, I think Ma­son’s (Ben­nett) stood out. He’s been around the first team for a while but he’s only 21 and he’s look­ing good. He was in the re­serves last year. “Cur­tis Davies has joined. I know him well from my Villa days. I played with him a few times and he’s a re­ally good guy and also a re­ally good player, so hope­fully he can im­prove us as well.

Set­tled

“He’s got Premier League ex­pe­ri­ence. He’s been pro­moted be­fore, so hope­fully he can help us with that as well. I think he’ll be a big sign­ing.

“It’s been a lit­tle bit hec­tic at Derby over the last few years, with a few changes of man­ager so hope­fully Gary can get set­tled and we can have some suc­cess.

“Every­one’s come back in great shape and we’ve not had to do much run­ning, ac­tu­ally. It’s meant we’ve had more time to do ball work, which has been good.

“I’ve only worked with Gary for four weeks now be­cause I wasn’t here when he took over.

“But I’ve no­ticed he wants a re­ally tight group with lots of to­geth­er­ness. It’ll take a bit of time, but I think it’s com­ing to­gether.

“We were a bit dis­ap­pointed with last sea­son and we’re aim­ing to be a lot higher. The aim is def­i­nitely pro­mo­tion.

“It’s def­i­nitely go­ing to be an ex­cit­ing sea­son.”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Im­ages

GOAL-DEN MO­MENT: Andi Weimann scor­ing for Wolves against Liver­pool in the FA Cup last sea­son and, inset, Cur­tis Davies

MAN­AGER: Gary Rowett

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