Jack King is hopeful Preston North End supporters will see him at his fully-fit best next season.
The versatile fans’ favourite endured a frustrating time during the previous campaign as a problematic foot injury kept him out of the side for a number of months.
It was in pre-season when King began to experience discomfort in his foot.
And while he managed to battle through the pain barrier in the 1-0 Capital One Cup win over derby rivals Blackpool in August – he was eventually forced on to the sidelines.
After a scan, the injury was diagnosed as a stress fracture and King underwent surgery to have his bone pinned, which kept him out of action for around 12 weeks.
He returned in early November in the 6-0 FA Cup romp over Barnet at Deepdale and looked set for an extended run in the team.
However, after featuring in five successive games – including scoring the winner against Bristol City – King’s injury reared its ugly head again.
At first it appeared he may have to go under the surgeon’s knife once more, which would have virtually ended his season.
Instead, he chose to manage the injury and as time went on and the pain began to slightly subside, he was able to feature more regularly in the team.
From Boxing Day onwards, he became a fixture in the squad and then nailed down a spot in the centre of North End’s defence in the final run-in to the season
With rest and recuperation over the summer, King is hopeful the fracture will have healed fully, so that he is back ready and raring to go for the start of pre-season.
King told the Evening Post: “I wasn’t totally fit last season. The foot fracture at the start kept me out for around three months.
“Then I came back for five or six games and then suffered a recurrence of the injury.
“At that point if I’d had another operation I would have been out for four or five months, which would have put me out for the whole season.
“So I sat down with the manager and the physio and we decided that I should take a couple of weeks off, come back and try to manage the injury.
“I trained as much as I possibly could and as the season went on, I managed to play more and more games.
“The injury was never going to be totally right because rest is the only thing which will help it.
“The fracture is still there – it takes time to heal. I’ve not had any rest since Christmas
“Hopefully the six weeks we have off after the season finished will help settle it down so that it’s fully healed and I can come back fit and play a lot more games than I did last season.”
Meanwhile, King had a word of praise for Bailey Wright after his fellow centre-back was picked in Australia’s squad for the World Cup in Brazil.
“When you think when I arrived at Preston, he was virtually out of the door and looked like he was leaving, he’s done superb,” King said.
“He’s a great lad and has been an integral part of the team this season. Hopefully this is the start of a long international career for him.”