Liam Grimshaw has been enjoying his new lease of life as a Preston player this summer after a false start at Deepdale.
Knee surgery soon after his arrival from Manchester United in January kept him sidelined until pre-season.
Grimshaw has steadily been building-up his match fitness in the past few weeks and hopes to get more game time in today’s friendly with Bolton at the Macron Stadium (3pm).
He got his longest run to date in Tuesday night’s 4-1 win over Morecambe, playing for 70 minutes.
Significantly, the 21-year-old played at right-back at the Globe Arena, an area of the pitch which has a vacancy after Calum Woods’ season-ending knee injury.
Grimshaw told the Evening Post: “It was good for me to play the length of time I did at Morecambe.
“I felt fine during the game and it was good to get that under my belt.
“It was the longest amount of time I’ve got in pre-season, having played 45 minutes at Chorley and half an hour in the Bamber Bridge game.
“Last week, it was good to play at Deepdale against Stoke, I got the last 15 minutes of that one.
“Hopefully I can build on that with more minutes at Bolton.
“That should be a good game, it is our last friendly before the season starts.
“Bolton were relegated last season but have kept hold of a few of their players and brought in some new ones.
“It was not that long ago that they were a Premier League club, so we are hoping for a decent game at a good ground.”
Midfield is the preferred position for Grimshaw but playing at right-back is not unfamiliar territory to him.
“I will play anywhere to get in the side,” said the East Lancashire lad.
“During my career I have played a lot in midfield and when I was on loan last season at Motherwell, I played on the right of midfield.
“When I was younger, I played at right-back so it is a position I’m used to in a way.
“It has been unfortunate to lose Calum Woods, it was an absolute sickener for him to get the injury.
“The way he did it was just one of those things, he went in for a tackle which on another day, would have got up from without a problem.”
Grimshaw knows all about the frustration of being on the injured list.
The knee injury which led to his delayed start was uncovered during the medical ahead of the transfer.
PNE chose to press ahead with the move but booked Grimshaw in for surgery.
“I kept myself fit during the summer and have enjoyed doing the pre-season work,” said Grimshaw.
“I’m naturally quite fit anyway, so the training hasn’t been too bad.
“It’s a case of managing my knee, keeping my eye on it.
“If it has been a case of it feeling a bit sore, I’ve taken it a bit easy for the next session to let it settle.”