‘Dark days’ gone as Cal signs new deal

Calum Woods
Calum Woods
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If Calum Woods’ year out of football were ‘dark days’, signing a contract extension at Preston represented light at the end of the tunnel.

The PNE defender this week put pen to paper on a new deal which runs until the summer of 2019.

Woods’ previous deal was due to end next June. Now he has the security of an extra year to get re-established in the North End squad.

When a full-blooded challenge in a pre-season friendly against Oldham sent him cartwheeling through the air, it put his career on hold for the best part of a year.

The incident in July 2016 resulted in the cruciate and medial ligaments in his right knee being torn.

He underwent surgery in London soon after and then the journey down the long road to fitness began.

“It was a dark place when I got my injury so it feels like all that hard work has paid off now,” said Woods.

“I’m absolutely delighted to sign an extension to my deal, it’s a great feeling to know that I’m going to be at this club even longer.”

Prior to the injury, Woods had established himself as a key player in the PNE squad.

His first season at North End saw him play 27 games.

The majority of those were at right-back but he swapped to the left for the play-off final at Wembley and indeed for the semi-final second leg.

In the 2015/16 season, Woods played at right-back and also for a spell as part of a three-man central defence.

Since coming back from having his knee repaired, it has been small steps in terms of first-team football.

A groin strain he got in pre-season training slowed Woods’ progress.

His return to first-team action came as a late sub during the 3-0 victory over Cardiff last month.

He started the 3-1 win at Birmingham in place of Darnell Fisher.

It was Fisher who he again replaced at Fulham at the weekend – completing 90 minutes for the first time.

Unfortunately, Woods was to give away the penalty which started Fulham’s comeback in the 2-2 draw.

With Fisher available for Saturday’s visit to Wolves, it is likely Woods will be back on the bench.

But his versatility will be useful to Alex Neil over the coming months, providing an option in both full-back slots and at centre-half at a push.

“I’ve had a few games now and so I’ve got over that fear of anything happening,” said Woods.