Freddie Woodman feels the Preston North End squad is “stronger than ever” as they approach the beginning of the Sky Bet Championship season.
PNE will get the new campaign underway on Saturday afternoon against Bristol City at Ashton Gate, looking to go better than last term’s 12th-place finish.
With six new additions to the squad, there’s plenty of competition for places and goalkeeper Freddie feels the team is in a good position.
He said: “We had a good squad last season. The lads that left us were good players but I feel like the team’s recruited well and we’ve got some fantastic new signings, and we’ve got some good young lads as well coming through.
“So I feel like the squad’s stronger than ever and places are up for grabs really, so it’s a competitive bunch of lads and the new lads have bought into that and I feel like we’re in a better place.”
Last season’s curtain raiser was a special day for the former Newcastle United shot-stopper, as he made his PNE debut in the goalless draw against Wigan Athletic.
That was the start of a quite remarkable run which he and the side went on, keeping seven consecutive clean sheets at the beginning of the campaign.
“To be honest if you offered it to me again I’d probably bite your hand off for it as a goalkeeper,” laughed Freddie.
“Like I said last season when it was going on, it’s important that the team pick up points and we have to start well on Saturday and build momentum into the season really.
“If you offered me seven clean sheets in the first seven games I’d bite your hand off.”
26-year-old Freddie was named as North End’s Player of the Year following the final match of last season, which ended at home to Sunderland who celebrated sealing a place in the Play-Offs that day.
Speaking after that match, the goalkeeper said he was angry that it wasn’t PNE making the top six, and he still feels those same emotions.
Freddie said: “I was chatting to the lads the other day and last season is still firmly in our heads. It almost feels like we’ve just rolled into another season, I can’t believe it’s come around so quickly.
“For me personally the pain of last season is certainly still there and it’s almost given me a fire in my belly to get going again.
“I said at the end of last season that I feel like there’s some unfinished business and that’s the reason why I wanted to be here. I wanted to fight and hopefully we can have a successful season.”