Exclusive Tommy Spurr PNE column

With Jordan Hugill before the Sunderland game in September
With Jordan Hugill before the Sunderland game in September

It has been great to be back in the Preston squad and on the bench for the last two games against Sheffield United and Nottingham Forest following my recovery from knee surgery.

Any footballer who has been out injured for a while will tell you how good it is to have a purpose again the end of the week – a game which you can prepare for rather than the thought of sitting in the gym.

I was injured playing in a bounce game at the training ground during the October international break, tearing the medial ligament in my left knee.

The game was just about getting some minutes in the hope that I would be involved in the first game back after the internationals.

It was one of those things, their player slipped and fell against the inside of my knee.

I didn’t think it was that bad at the time because I couldn’t really feel anything.

But once I had the knee scanned it showed up a lot worse damage than we had first thought.

The reason I couldn’t feel anything was that the injury messes up the nerves at the front of the knee.

What had happened was that the ligament had come away from the bone at the bottom and also at the top where it branches in two.

It wasn’t nice to hear when the specialist gave me a rundown of the damage.

After the operation there was not a lot of work I could do apart from some gentle exercises to try and build up the quad muscle which had disappeared.

It is frustrating when you are used to training every day and now I couldn’t even get a sweat on.

Over the weeks I got to do a bit more and it was all about getting yourself into the right condition ready for when I could go outside and train on the grass.

Part of the rehab was to get the knee bending and straightening fully.

Our physio Matt Jackson particularly enjoyed that part of it because it can be very painful!

I pushed myself hard when getting fit and Jacko is a physio who encourages that approach.

It was on the Monday ahead of the Sheffield United game that I trained for the first time with the squad.

On the Tuesday I joined in for a bit and then I was asked if I wanted to play a bounce game against AFC Fylde on Wednesday.

I jumped at that chance and played for about an hour which was good – it was nice to get back into it, work on my positioning.

I was on the bench for the FA Cup game and then again at Forest on Tuesday night.

Hopefully I continue to get fitter and be available to play a part in the coming weeks and months.

It is the longest I’ve been out in my career. When I was at Doncaster, I had a problem with my hips which needed an operation where bone and cartilage had to be shaved away.

That was meant to keep me out for five months but I got back in three – not that I had much choice about it.

The big news at the club this week was obviously the sale of Jordan Hugill to West Ham for big money.

It is a brilliant move for Jordan and he is a lad I can’t speak highly enough about.

He works hard, does what he does very well and scores goals too.

You can’t deny him the chance to play in the Premier League, which is what we are all aiming to do by getting promoted.

Jordan is probably not the sort of lad you associate with a big-money transfer because he is a down-to-earth lad who just gets on with his job. He started way down the football ladder and fair play to him, he has worked hard to get to where he is now.

All the lads here will be watching out for him to see how he does at West Ham.

Our focus is firmly fixed on playing Hull this weekend at Deepdale.

We got a great win against Forest in midweek and we need to back that up with three points on Saturday if possible.

We need to get a run of wins going to try and get into the top six.

What we have got as a squad is a mentality which makes us hard to beat but there have been a few too many draws.

Backing up three or four wins would give us a really good chance of getting into the top six.

It would be nice to get into those play-off places rather than just be a point or two off it, then we can set ourselves the challenge of staying there.

We are getting into a really big part of the season now, it’s difficult to believe that January has gone and we are into the last three months or so of the campaign.

We’ll be working hard as a group and with the manager to get better and earn the results which we need.