Kyel Reid is pushing to get himself involved in Preston North End’s squad for the first time in next week’s Johnstone’s Paint Trophy clash with Shrewsbury.
The winger, sidelined since January after knee surgery, has been getting back up to speed in training and in behind-closed-doors friendly games.
On Tuesday he reached the 75-minute mark in a bounce match against Fleetwood, and according to PNE manager Simon Grayson, is champing at the bit to get some competitive action under his belt.
Reid would love that to come at some point against Shrewsbury at Deepdale on Tuesday night, although Grayson might be tempted to hold him back just a bit longer.
The 26-year-old suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament playing for previous club Bradford City in January.
North End signed him in the summer fully aware that he would not be available for the start of the season.
They were prepared to wait for him to recover fully and the end is in sight for Reid with his rehabilitation.
Grayson said: “Kyel played for 75 minutes in midweek and has steadily been upping his game time.
“He needs to work hard in training over the next week or so to build on that game.
“I know that Kyel is desperate to try and get in and around the game against Shrewsbury next Tuesday.
“We will see where we are with that one.
“He is bang on target for the timescale we set when we signed him in the summer.
“Kyel has worked extremely hard to get back to this stage and he just needs to get his sharpness and fitness levels up.
“If he doesn’t get any game time against Shrewsbury, then we have another 10 days before the next league game to get some more work into him.
“I would say that the Shrewsbury game is his target rather than mine – Kyel thinks he should have been in the first team two weeks ago!
“That is just how the lad is – he is a confident character and wants to be back playing, as you can imagine.”
Reid is involved in full-contact training with the North End squad, so the repaired knee is getting put to the test.
Said Grayson: “Kyel is playing and training with more freedom.
“He has had a few whacks on the knee so he got past the stage of worrying about that.
“His confidence levels are fine When Kyel is ready to play, he will have to get in front of the lads who are performing well at the moment.”
As Monday’s transfer deadline nears, Grayson says he remains content with the strength of the PNE squad but is still open to putting some ‘icing on the cake’.
Grayson said: “There are a couple of areas I would like to strengthen – that would be the icing on the cake of what we have got here.
“We have got a really strong squad and if I had to go with what I have, I would take it.
“But like any manager you always want a little bit more.
“No one has yet come to me in terms of agents or clubs to say we have a player available to make you better.
“I have had plenty of offers from players who want to come to the club but they will not make us better.”