Clarke backs pal's PNE comeback

Preston skipper Tom Clarke has backed team-mate and room-mate Calum Woods to come back strongly from the knee injury which will rule him out all season.
Tom Clarke has thrown his support behind injured team-mate Calum WoodsTom Clarke has thrown his support behind injured team-mate Calum Woods
Tom Clarke has thrown his support behind injured team-mate Calum Woods

Woods damaged the medial and cruciate ligaments in his right knee in last Tuesday’s victory at Oldham.

He is due to see a specialist this week and is likely to have surgery in the coming weeks.

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Centre-half Clarke knows what Woods is going through, having suffered a similar injury in his Huddersfield days.

He tore his cruciate in a play-off game in 2010 and was sidelined for a lengthy period.

“I’m gutted for Calum, I’ve been there myself,” Clarke told the Evening Post.

“It happened to me when I played for Huddersfield and it is not a nice injury – mentally it is a tough one.

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“You have to be mentally strong to come back from it, something which Calum is.

“Calum is one of my really good friends in football, I’ve known him since he was at Huddersfield with me. He is also my room-mate at away matches so we get on very well.

“Calum was playing really well at both wing-back and right-back – he’s a good player.

“He will be missed because he’s been playing so well.

“I will be here for him if there is any advice he wants, any encouragement I can give him, I will do.

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“Stevie May has had the same type of injury and Calum will see that Stevie is well down the road in his recovery and doing well.

“Once Calum has had the operation, he can kick on with the hard work and get himself back fitter and stronger.

“Our physio Matt Jackson and the fitness staff here are brilliant at what they do and will help him out every step of the way.”

Winger Chris Humphrey echoed the words of Clarke in his support for Woods.

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Said Humphrey: “This has knocked the stuffing out of Calum and we all feel really bad for him.

“He is a top guy, a big part of the atmosphere in the changing room and the banter.

“We have all tried to help him get his head up and to be fair, Calum has taken the news as well as possible in the circumstances.

“I’m sure being the type of professional he is, he will be bounce back stronger for this.

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“They are talking about missing the whole season but you never know.

“I missed much of last season myself but just managed to get back for the final game which was a bonus.

“Something might happen like that with Calum.

“If Calum believes in himself and works hard, he will be fine.”

Woods was hurt in a block tackle with Oldham wing-back Jamie Reckford early in the Boundary Park clash.

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He left the ground on crutches and a scan last Thursday morning confirmed North End’s worst fears.

Lilywhites manager Simon Grayson said: “Calum is seeing a specialist this week.

“He will end up having an operation I would think in the next few weeks.

“It is going to be a bit like Stevie May where you let the knee settle down for a little bit and then have the operation.

“We are all devastated for Calum and he will get all the help he needs to come back.

“It’s hugely disappointing but he will be given the best opportunity to come back fitter and stronger.”