Matt Derbyshire is enjoying his first full pre-season in three years as he prepares to kick-start his career at The City Ground.The striker joined from Greek side Olympiacos last summer but a debut season plagued by illness and injury restricted him to a disappointing two goals in 16 appearances.
"It's good to get a pre-season under my belt." he said. "It's very important for any footballer.
"Over the last two years I haven't had one, which is a massive thing for your fitness. I was out with shingles for three months and then I had an injury to my calf so I was out for another lengthy spell. To be fit and strong again is great."
The ex-Blackburn man showed early signs of promise under Steve McClaren but struggled to make an impact under his replacement, Steve Cotterill. Now working with Sean O'Driscoll, he is optimistic for the future.
"It's great." said Derbyshire. "He's a very good coach and he seems a nice man.
"It's going to be a good season, I think- obviously with new owners involved who are looking to build the squad up again. I hope that it's going to be exciting for the players, fans and the staff."
For now, however, the 26-year-old is focused on preparing well for the forthcoming campaign.
His target for the season: "Keep fit, keep strong and try and get as many games as I possibly can. If I do that, I'm sure I'll do well."