Josh Murphy says he is “buzzing” to be nearing a return to action after more than four months sidelined with injury.
It’s been a difficult period for the Cardiff City loanee, who was first missing through an ankle ligament injury before a calf issue then prolonged his spell in the treatment room.
The 26-year-old is now well on the road to recovery though, having recently stepped up a return to first team training.
“It’s been tough, because it’s ended up being so long,” Josh told the matchday programme, which you can order here.
“I think this is the start of my 17th week being injured, so it has definitely been tough physically and mentally, but there’s light at the end of the tunnel which is great.
“I’m out on the grass now, back with the boys, so it’s now about building that fitness and being able to be ready for the matchdays and to hopefully be in the manager’s thoughts.”
Ryan Lowe, having been appointed in December, has been unable to call upon Josh since his arrival as manager.
It’s now up to the former Norwich City man, who has been limited to seven substitute appearances as a PNE player, to push his way into the fold once fully fit, and he’s excited to work more closely with the gaffer.
He said: “When a new manager comes in you want to impress him straight away and you can’t do that from the gym or the treatment room, so that has been disappointing, but it’s something I’ve been looking forward to.
“You can see how the boys have been playing. He’s kind of galvanised us and we’re playing a lot more attacking football.
“Everyone’s playing with a lot more freedom and I think I can thrive off that, so I’m really looking forward to working with him and Marshy [Mike Marsh], and hopefully I can get into his thoughts sooner rather than later.
“I’ve had a couple of good chats with him about the way he wants to use me, and it’s really promising for me.
“He wants to play attacking football, which obviously I want to do, so I think it could be a really good fit. I’m just so excited to show what I can do.”
His return to the squad now may not be too far away, with Ryan Lowe hopeful of being able to include North End's No.45 in Tuesday's Central League game against Fleetwood Town.
Despite not being able to get out on to the pitch himself, Josh has followed PNE closely over the last few months, regularly tuning in on iFollow.
As well as being settled within the dressing room, Josh has also seamlessly adjusted to his surroundings.
He added: “I’m living up here by myself. I’ve actually stayed in a hotel the whole time I’ve been here, which I get a bit of stick from the boys about!
“But I’ve kind of made that my home here. I get on really well with the staff, it’s like a little family, so I’m quite content where I am.
“I really like Preston, so I’m hoping I can come back when I’m ready and do well.”