Preston North End midfielder Brad Potts has been working hard over the summer to be ready to re-join training.
The No.44 missed the last couple of months of the season after a knee operation, so has spent the off season rehabilitating, to try and ensure he is ready to start back with the rest of the squad.
The team return to Springfields later this week and the 24-year-old is ready for it, but has been grateful for the support he has received over the summer in getting to that stage.
“It has been a strange summer,” he told PNE.Com. “It has been my first one where I have had to come in due to injury, which has been frustrating, but in the last couple of weeks I have been running and trying to push on and be ready for pre-season.
“I need to be as fit as I can. Make sure my knee is right and then be fit to go.
“Jacko [Matt Jackson, club physio] has put me through my paces and it is good to come in and I feel like I focus more in that environment.
“I have still had my holidays, but I have had to come in on occasions and there have been a few of us in and it would have been a bit depressing being in by myself, but we have helped each other along and we have done our work together.”
The former Barnsley man took a keen interest when the fixtures came out last week, particularly with a brace of clashes against his former employers to look forward to.
“I knew the fixtures were due out and I was looking forward to that,” he continued. “Straight away I had my eye on them to check who we played when and now I am really looking forward to it.
“I am not going to lie, the Barnsley games were the first ones I checked for. I looked who we had first game of the season and then looked for those two games. It will be good to go back and see some old friends, but I am just focused on the season ahead with Preston.
“You have to play everyone twice; it doesn’t really matter when you play them, but it is still interesting to see when you play teams, especially the first couple.
“Millwall will be a tough game, but we will be going there to win the game, as we always do. The first home game will be a good one for both sets of fans – it is a local derby and that should mean it has an extra kick to it. But we want to be getting off to a good start.”
The entire squad will be together for the first time in a few weeks when they get back to is and Brad is looking forward to seeing everyone, albeit it not necessarily the work they’ll be doing during the initial weeks of pre-season.
“We have quite a bit of time away from each other, so it will be good to see all the lads and just get back into the swing of things.
“The first couple of weeks are tough, getting your fitness up, but it has to be done and we will all be working hard to make sure we have a good season.”