PNE fitness coach up for award

Preston fitness coach Tom Little
Preston fitness coach Tom Little
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A member of Preston North End’s backroom staff has been nominated for a prestigious award.

Fitness coach Tom Little is on the shortlist for the Fabrice Muamba Award for Outstanding Service to Football Medicine and Science at the North West Football Awards.

He is up against Accrington Stanley’s Dr Joyce Watson and Liverpool Ladies’ Kathryn Wise.

Previous winners of the award include Blackburn physio Dave Fevre, Les Parry – who was physio and manager at Tranmere – and Manchester United physio Rob Swire.

Little has headed PNE’s sports science department since July 2014.

He oversees all elements of fitness and conditioning at the club, working with the squad on the training ground and helping injured players regain their fitness.

Before joining Preston, Little worked for Birmingham, Sheffield Wednesday, Burnley and Huddersfield.

It was during his time at Huddersfield that he first worked with Simon Grayson.

In an interview last season with the Evening Post, Little said: “I’m in charge of the overall training loads, the planning and background.

“I oversee the strength and power work, the injury prevention work, which is a crucial side of the game.

“There is the health side of it too – nutrition, body fat levels, overall health.”

The award which Little has been shortlisted for was first presented in 2012.

It followed Fabrice Muamba’s collapse on the pitch when playing for Bolton against Tottenham at White Hart Lane.

He suffered a cardiac arrest and his heart stopped for 78 minutes.

Several medics, including a cardiac surgeon who had been in the crowd, battled to save Muamba’s life on the pitch.

Muamba will present the award to the winner at the football awards ceremony which takes place next month at Lancashire Cricket Club.

Others from North End are in the running for honours.

PNE’s community and education trust is nominated for two awards.

It is shortlisted for the Community Club of the Year, together with Burnley, Wigan and Tranmere.

The trust is nominated too for the Community Initiative of the Year award.

That is in recognition of its work with girls and women’s football.

The trust, formerly known as the Sir Tom Finney Foundation, celebrated its 30th birthday last month.

Two of PNE’s first-team squad are up for awards.

Greg Cunningham is on the shortlist for the Championship player of the year, where he is up against Burnley striker Andre Gray and Blackburn winger Ben Marshall – the award covers displays last season.

Midfielder Alan Browne is one of a number of players in the Rising Star category.

His competition includes Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford, Kelechi Iheanacho at Manchester City, Burnley defender Michael Keane, Liverpool midfielder Emre Can and Everton’s Joe Williams.

Voting for the player of the year and rising star awards can be done at http://www.northwestfootballawards.com/voting. It closes at noon on Friday, October 12.