Manager Simon Grayson says that Scott Laird could well get a run out before the end of the season after returning to training last weekend.
The North End No.3 has been out since a Jamal Campbell-Ryce tackle in November broke his leg, but joined in with the rest of the squad last Saturday as they prepared for the second of the Easter double-header.
“He’s ahead of schedule,” revealed the gaffer of his left back. “Everyone was devastated when he broke his leg in November, but he has done all his rehab with the physio and joined in last Saturday and Sunday with us and then trained with the youth team when we were off in the early part of the week and then joined in with us again today.
“It is great for him psychologically to be back so quickly, but we have to make sure we don’t rush him back too quickly, to make sure he doesn’t have any repercussions down the line.
“It is great to have him, because the reports I had from the early parts of the season are that he was one of the best players and was a major asset to the football club. We’ll take it nice and steadily with him, but if we think he’s ready, we might think of giving him a game before the end of the season.
“When the timescale was given to him, everyone had written him off until next season, so for him to be back is a big bonus for him more than anybody, because when you get an injury like that the damage it can do psychologically is not there for everyone to see apart from the person who is involved in it all.
“I am delighted to have him back on the training pitch. He has made a few tackles already, so the lads are fully aware of what he’s all about and we’ll see how he goes, day by day.”
And whilst the PNE boss admits that he asked the rest of the squad to take it easy on the returning defender, it was perhaps the Somerset-born man himself who needed to be told to take it easy!
“Last weekend we asked the lads to let him ease back in, but before you know it, Lairdy is making tackles on them, but that’s the nature of getting back into training.
“He has to be careful himself, but it is a bonus to have him training and around the place because he’s a good lad as well.
“It is hard for anyone who is out for that length of time, but they keep themselves going with the physios and he has reaped the rewards of a lot of hard work and hopefully we can get him back before the end of the season, because that would be great for him, but we will see how we go with that.”