Midfielder Ryan Ledson is back for his second year at Deepdale and sees this as a big season for both the club and himself.
He has returned to an extremely competition Springfields, with every player now back in training and trying to get fit and impress ahead of the 2019/20 campaign.
“It is hard to get into the 11-a-sides in training!” Joked the former Everton man. “You look around and realise we have a top squad here. The biggest downfall last year was keeping everyone out on the training pitch and if we can do that this year, then I think it will be a successful year.
“We have the talent. Last year was a big learning curve for a lot of us. We had a lot of new players, including myself and it was a year where we all came together and this year we are going to go for it.
“It is now about kicking on to the next level. Last year was great for me as I learnt about what the club was about, what the league was about and I think I have now got to grips with that and I am ready to kick on this year.
“I know how the gaffer wants to play and how the team wants to play. We have a unique style of playing, with the high pressing, and I think we definitely have the players to do that.”
The 21-year-old admits it has been a tough few days back in training, but it is a vital part of the team’s season: “I feel a little bit sore,” he continued. “The legs are bit sore, but it is getting easier each day. We are a few days in to it now and all the lads are looking pretty sharp; we have come back in decent nick.
“The lads now, three weeks before you are due to come back, you start to get fit. You have to be at a decent level of fitness before you come back, because you know it is going to be tough as soon as you get back – and it has been – but everyone is looking well.
“The base gets now sets you up and it is about putting the hard yards in. It is tough – very tough – but you know it will be beneficial over the coming weeks and into the season.”
And whilst he is unavailable for the first two games due to the suspension carried over from last season, he knows that there is a lot more to look forward to throughout the campaign. He also is ready for the start of the preparatory matches, beginning this weekend, with Saturday’s 3pm kick-off against Bamber Bridge at the Sir Tom Finney Stadium.
“It is a bit weird, but it is just two games, and it is not a two-game season. We are going to play 50-plus games this year, so it is unfortunate I will miss the first two, but I will be ready and hopefully once available, I will get the chance to play.
“We have a lot of games, which is good. You can train as much as you want in pre-season, but there is nothing like getting your match fitness and sharpness and we have a good few games against decent opposition, so it will be a good work out.
“Going over to play Cork will be a tough test; Fylde did well last year, Chorley did well last year and we also play Southampton, who are in the Premier League, so they are all good games and they will come with different plans that we will need to overcome.
“All the teams play different types of football. Cork are half-way through their season, so their fitness will be good and that will be a good test for us. Fleetwood are in the league below us, but have signed a few good players and their manager will have them fit and raring to go against us.”