Will Hayhurst is looking forward to making his first appearance of pre-season as North End travel up the Fylde coast to take on Fleetwood Town this Saturday.
The 19-year-old established himself as a regular in the PNE first team last season, making 25 appearances and scoring four goals, before taking part in the Republic of Ireland’s U19s European Championships campaign in June.
However, the winger has been unable to play in any of the Lilywhites pre-season friendlies thus far - thanks to a head injury he sustained in training - something he is determined to put right on Saturday.
“I’m glad to be back in training and hopefully I can get some game time tomorrow,” Will told PNE.Com.
“It’s been frustrating with the knock I got but I think it’ll be a good test for us, I think Fleetwood will be a good team and it’ll be another good run out for me and the lads.”
On reflection, Hayhurst has been impressed with what he has seen in the previous warm-up fixtures but admits results play second fiddle to fitness.
“We’ve played well I think, the first game was tough because you’re playing one of the best teams in the world but I think we got good fitness out of it,” he added.
“I think the last two games, we’ve won them both, and I think we’ve played good football. I know it’s not all about the score line, it’s about fitness, but watching I think a lot of our players have been impressive and it’s looking good for the new season.”
Back-to-back wins against Chorley and Bamber Bridge have given Simon Grayson’s squad momentum heading into this weekend’s clash against the Cod Army and Tuesday’s game with local rivals Blackburn.
And although Hayhurst is under no illusions as to how tough those matches might be, he insists the Preston team are confident they can produce positive results from both encounters.
“I think the upcoming games will be a lot tougher, Fleetwood and Blackburn, and I think they’ll be a good test for us,” he continued.
“But I think we’ll go in confident and I feel we can get both the wins and that’s what the lads are aiming for.”
Hayhurst made his PNE debut against Charlton Athletic in the 2011/12 season, the same fixture that saw current Fleetwood manager Graham Alexander wave goodbye to Deepdale.
‘Grezza’ enjoyed a tremendous nine year career at North End as a player, and Will can’t wait to get reacquainted with the Club legend at this weekend’s clash.
“It’ll be great to see him, I made my debut on his last ever game and it was great to do that,” he said.
“He’s always helped me out and if I ask him something he’ll always help me and he’s a great professional to look up to so I think he’ll get them playing good football and it’ll be good to go up against them.”