Jermaine raring to go for PNE
Jermaine Beckford aims to put more fitness in the bank when Preston head to Oldham tonight for the latest stage of their pre-season programme.
After missing much of last season because of a knee injury, every game and training session is valued highly by the PNE striker.
Hence, Beckford is looking forward to the Boundary Park visit (7pm) for what is North End’s fourth friendly of the build-up to 2016/17.
“My approach is to take things one game at a time, I prepare that way and look forward to it,” Beckford told the Evening Post.
“Ideally, I would like to score in every game but it is not always going to be the case.
“Oldham is the next one for us and hopefully I can get plenty from it.
“I’m enjoying pre-season, doing the fitness work and getting used to taking up the right positions again.
“Over the summer, I did a lot of strengthening work on my legs, which is something I need to do after the injury.”
Beckford has featured in the three friendlies to date against Bamber Bridge, Chorley and Fulham.
The 5-0 defeat to Fulham came during last week’s training camp in Ireland.
It was the blot on what was otherwise a good trip to Fota Island.
Said Beckford: “We worked very hard over there and it was a good opportunity to get to know the new lads who have joined us in the summer.
“We had a bad result against Fulham which people are aware of but no one should read too much into that.
“We were quite fatigued going into the game. It might sound like an excuse – and I don’t want it to – but we’d had a triple training session the day before.
“At Oldham, we will be looking to get the Fulham game out of the system and show everyone that the work we are doing behind closed doors is benefiting us.
“Every friendly game we play is an opportunity to get more minutes under our belts and improve the sharpness.
“Ultimately, it is about being ready for the opening day of the season.”
Beckford looks back on last season with a feeling of frustration.
He went into it fresh from 18 goals in Preston’s promotion campaign, including the Wembley hat-trick.
But cartilage damage suffered in pre-season, which eventually required surgery, was to limit him to just a handful of appearances.
“Last season was extremely frustrating on a personal level,” said the 32-year-old.
“Fortunately in my career, I had not had to endure anything as serious as that before.
“So I took it all in my stride and now it is all behind me, my focus is on what is ahead.”
North End will be without Tommy Spurr tonight, the defender still recovering after going over on his ankle in the Chorley game.
Simon Grayson is keen to give some of the squad a longer run-out against Oldham in the quest for match fitness.