Surgery wait is over for PNE ace

Paul Gallagher is having hernia surgery today, an operation twice postponed during last season
Paul Gallagher is having hernia surgery today, an operation twice postponed during last season
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Preston North End midfielder Paul Gallagher will finally undergo hernia surgery today.

The 31-year-old battled for much of last season with the injury but was still the second highest appearance-maker in PNE’s squad.

His operation was put on hold a couple of times in order for him to be available for matches.

But he was going under the knife today and should be fine to start pre-season training on June 30.

Gallagher played a key part in North End’s Championship campaign.

He started 41 games, the five he missed being in September and early October because of a calf strain.

It is worth noting that PNE did not win any of the matches he was absent for.

From October 17 through to the end of the season, Gallagher started every league game.

He traced the start of the hernia injury back to the win at MK Dons last August.

Gallagher netted the winner that day and first felt the injury when dragging the ball across a defender in the build-up to the goal.

North End first pencilled in an operation to repair the damage in January.

But with league points still needed to be safe, surgery was postponed.

A second date was arranged ahead of the international break in March.

Again, it was put on hold with Preston having an outside chance of making the play-offs at the time.

There was talk of him having the operation done in the last few weeks of the season but with the recovery time being a relatively short one, it was decided to leave it until the summer break.

North End boss Simon Grayson said: “Gally did well to play through the discomfort and get through the number of games he did.

“It was a case of managing the injury between games and making sure he was all right for the next one.

“He struggled a bit over the winter in the cold weather because the injury would tighten up at half-time.

“Gally was a big player for us last season, doing very well in that deeper midfield role.

“He would not have been far behind Greg Cunningham in the player of the year vote.”

Another North End player who will have hernia surgery this summer is Alan Browne.

Unlike Gallagher, the midfielder’s injury only flared up towards the end of the season.

Meanwhile, North End have announced seven pre-season friendlies. Only one of them is at Deepdale, against Premier League Stoke on Saturday, July 23.

Their first game is at Bamber Bridge on Friday, July 9, and they play Chorley at Victory Park the following day.

On July 16, they travel to Accrington Stanley, before visiting Oldham on July 19.

After the Stoke clash, they face Morecambe at the Globe Arena on July 26, with a trip to Bolton rounding things off on July 30.