Brad Potts hit the ground running when he came to PNE from Saturday’s opponents Barnsley – and he is determined to recreate that form this season, as he explained to The One And Only ahead of the game.
After playing ten games for PNE when he signed in January and never being on the losing side, the winger had to undergo knee surgery in March and admitted it took him longer than he expected to recover.
But now the 25-year-old is back competing for a first team spot and hoping to chip in with goals to keep PNE in the promotion picture.
“I had the operation on my knee in March and I was only meant to be out a couple of months but it went into summer,” said Hexham-born Brad.
“I came back in pre-season and it still wasn’t right so I have had to get a few things sorted and thankfully it’s feeling better now.
“It did mean though pre-season for me was slow. I didn’t train as much as I wanted to and I only played one or two pre-season friendlies.
“It’s been frustrating as I wanted to hit the ground running in pre-season and, even though I started the first game of the season at Millwall, I wasn’t 100 per cent fit really.
“When I first signed in January, it was great to be involved straight away, we went on a great run and we were winning most games - just like we have been doing recently.
“It was good to be involved then and I want to be part of this again.
“The lads have done well so it’s obviously been tough for me to get back in the team, I just need to wait for the opportunity.”
This time last season Brad was lining up for the Tykes in League One as they looked to bounce back from relegation from the Championship – which they did.
He signed for them from Blackpool in July 2017, after helping the Seasiders clinch promotion to League One.
“It will be strange game for me as obviously I was at Barnsley last season and I really enjoyed my time there.
“It will be a weird one but I am really looking forward to seeing some old faces.
“Paul Heckingbottom signed me and it was a great chance for me to play Championship football and challenge myself and play as high as possible.
“Paul left to go to Leeds and then a Portuguese guy, Jose Morais, came in and it was hard to take when we got relegated. Paul was good but the next manager was a lot different to what I was used to, to be honest, but it was what it was.
“The aim at the start of the season was to bounce straight back as the squad was strong and we were favourites to go up and obviously last season Barnsley got promoted in the end.
“Even though I left in January, I loved my time there and I wanted them to go up as I was close to a lot of the lads. It was a great season for them.
“Due to doing so well, a lot of the team has moved on, me being one of them, but there are still quite a lot of the lads still there and the coaching staff.
“I lived with Cameron McGeehan when I was at Barnsley and I was quite close to a few of the others lads like Alex Mowatt and Cauley Woodrow.
“It is strange playing against your mates, you go from being with them every day last season and being in the same team on a Saturday to being rivals but you have to forget about that on the day of the game and focus on doing well for PNE and getting three points for PNE.
“I got seven goals for Barnsley in the first half of last season and got two for PNE, I was on schedule for double figures which I would have been happy with but the injury got in the way.
“I am dying to get a goal. I have to be patient, keep working hard and when the gaffer gives me a chance I have got to take it.”
There is loads more from Brad, plus interview with Patrick Bauer, Joe Rafferty, Jon Parkin, Iain Hume, Simon Farnworth and plenty more crammed into 84 pages of the weekend’s matchday programme.
It will available to purchase from Friday afternoon from the club’s ticket office or from inside and outside the ground on matchday from our sellers, still just £3, so make sure you pick up yours.