Lee loves game too much to pack in – PNE boss

Lee Trundle
Lee Trundle
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Lee Trundle’s time at Deepdale is over after little more than half an hour of competitive action in a Preston shirt.

The 36-year-old striker has been beset by injury problems since joining North End in July, and yesterday the remainder of his one-year contract was cancelled by mutual consent.

With the cancellation coming outside of the transfer window, he can’t join another Football League club until the summer.

But there is the option of playing non-league football, with Trundle also keen on pursuing a career as a pundit – he’s had a couple of stints on Sky Sports recently.

Trundle joined North End on trial for pre-season training in July and impressed sufficiently to earn a 12-month deal.

His injury problems started in the friendly at Morecambe when a rash tackle saw him suffer extensive damage to the cartilage in his knee.

The Liverpudlian underwent surgery to stitch the cartilage back together, and only returned to the first-team squad four months later.

He made a two-minute appearance from the bench in the 2-0 FA Cup win over Gillingham on December 1.

Then Trundle was a 62nd minute substitute in Boxing Day’s goalless draw with Bury at Deepdale.

PNE boss Graham Westley intended handing him his first competitive start against Hartlepool on New Year’s Day, but the front man tore a hamstring in training the day before.

He’s currently sidelined by an ankle injury, that problem prompting the discussion which has seen his contract settled up.

Westley said: “Lee had a major injury last summer which was a difficult situation for him to deal with.

“He worked so hard to get himself back and then suffered the hamstring tear when preparing for the New Year’s Day game at Hartlepool.

“I had a long conversation with Lee earlier this week and it seems that he has got a media career in front of him.

“It’s probably right that he plays football which fits in with his future career rather than him concentrating on playing the type of football we need to play and the training we need to push him through.We’ve come to an amicable agreement, although it was a tough decision because Lee is such a great lad to have around.

“He’s always the first one in with a massive smile on his face and it’s difficult to lose someone like that.

“When Lee joined us in the summer, he looked in exceptional condition and possessed so much quality. By his own admission, the lad was probably in the best shape he’d been in for years.

“I thought that some of the players we’d brought in with benefit massively from the experience of playing alongside him.

“Then he got that bad injury at Morecambe, and I thought at the time it would be a hard one to come back from.”

Trundle had a late introduction to the professional game, having played non-league football earlier in his career at Burscough, Chorley, Bamber Bridge, Southport and Stalybridge.

But he went on to play for Wrexham, Swansea, Bristol City and Leeds, before joining Welsh League side Neath.

It was after they went out of business last year that Trundle joined North End as a free agent.

Westley is tipping the striker to return to the pitch once he’s put his current injury behind him.

The PNE boss said: “Lee has got too much of a love for the game to pack it it.

“Maybe he needs a more limited training environment, and the Conference is somewhere I suspect he might go.

Trundle is the fifth player signed by North End last summer to have since left the club, either permanently or on a temporary basis.