PNE skipper on the way back

John Welsh
John Welsh
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Preston North End midfielder John Welsh hopes that his return to action from injury can mark an end to the stop-start nature of his season so far.

The PNE club captain played 82 minutes of last week’s Johnstone’s Paint Trophy victory over Port Vale.

It was only Welsh’s third appearance of the campaign, with the form of others and then a niggling calf injury over the past month keeping him out of the picture.

He hopes his contribution in the JPT victory can lead to him being included in North End’s squad for Vale’s visit in the league this weekend.

Welsh told the Evening Post: “I had about a month out between the two JPT games.

“I was doing some training a few days after we had beaten Shrewsbury and I just felt something in my calf.

“It wasn’t as if something suddenly went, it just started to feel sore and was a bit of a niggle.

“They found that it was a deep tissue injury rather than a strain and it has been very frustrating.

“A couple of times I thought it had got itself right and then it began niggling again.

“The worse thing when you are a professional footballer is to be injured.

“I feel fine now, I did a lot of work with our physio Matt Jackson and it was good to get through the 80 or so minutes which I did against Port Vale.

“Hopefully I have seen the back of that injury and I can get on with trying to get a place in the team.

“The international break has given me the chance to do some more training and rest the leg without having a game to prepare for.

“While I don’t think anyone here particularly wanted a break in games because of the run we have got ourselves on, it will give us the opportunity to clear a few injuries up.

“Personally, I hope to push on from last week’s game and press for a place on Saturday.

“It will be hard to get into the team because we’ve had some good results lately.

“I think it was good for the gaffer to be able to give a few of us a game against Port Vale in the JPT.

“We have got a very busy schedule of games coming up with plenty of Saturday–Tuesday football.”

The weekend’s draw for the northern area quarter-final of the JPT added a few more miles of motorway miles to Preston’s agenda.

They were drawn away to face Oldham Athletic at Boundary Park, with the game due to be played in the week beginning November 10.

It means four successive midweek away games, with the visit to Greater Manchester coming after Tuesday night visits to Gillingham, Leyton Orient and Swindon.

On the international front, there were mixed fortunes for the PNE players on duty.

Callum Robinson was 75th minute substitute in England Under-20s 3-2 win over Holland in Heerenveen on Saturday. He set up the winner for Arsenal’s Chuba Akpon.

England play again tonight against Turkey – their third game and final game in a four-team tournament.

Right-back Scott Wiseman was in the Gibraltar side thrashed 7-0 by Republic of Ireland at the Aviva Stadium.