The Derby striker is eager to seize his new chance with the Rams
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.
“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.
“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.”
GOAL-DEN MOMENT: Andi Weimann scoring for Wolves against Liverpool in the FA Cup last season and, inset, Curtis Davies
MANAGER: Gary Rowett