Wayne Rooney has admitted his frustration at not being able to play for Derby.
The former Manchester United and England captain is unable to make his debut for the Rams until January, after signing an 18-month contract following his departure from Major League Soccer side DC United.
The visit of Barnsley to Pride Park on January 2 has been pencilled in for Rooney and he insists he is ready.
“It’s obviously frustrating training throughout the week and not being able to play,” said the 34-year-old.
“Training the day before a game is the worst day as the players don’t do too much so it’s been one-on-one with the fitness coach today, which isn’t nice.
“It’s frustrating because I am ready to play. I’ve just really been topping up my fitness and ticking things over since (leaving America) and if the game was tomorrow I would be able to play.”
Derby will play four more matches before Rooney is eligible to feature. In that time, he will hope Phillip Cocu’s team can narrow the eight-point gap between themselves and the top six.
The Rams have failed to hit the heights of last season, when they reached the Championship play-off final, and are currently on a four-game winless run.
However, Rooney insists that the play-offs remain the aim again, saying: “It is a very tight league. We are not where we want to be but we are not too far off the play-offs.
“What I have already learned about this league is that if you’re consistent you can climb up several places very quickly.
“The play-offs are still achievable, without a doubt, it’s only eight points. I’ve lost a Premier League title with games to go when seven points clear so anything is possible.”
Not being able to play aside, Rooney insists he has enjoyed his time at Derby under the guidance of Cocu.
“The last few weeks have been good to get to know the players and the staff,” he said.
“Everyone has been fantastic with me since I arrived, right across the training ground. I feel really settled in here and, as I say, I’m ready to go now.
“The manager has been great with me. I’ve been training with the players and then having a bit of input with the manager and the coaching staff off the training pitches.
“I’ve been in meetings and given my opinion on different things and it’s great to work with and learn from someone like Phillip Cocu.
“It’s a great opportunity for me to continue to play and also have one foot in the other side of it. I am sure it will only benefit me.”