Josh Harrop’s ready to battle for Preston North End starting spot
Josh Harrop is only looking forward and not back as he prepares to battle for a place in Preston’s team this season.
The attacking midfielder missed most of last season with a torn cruciate ligament but has played a full part in pre-season over the last five weeks.
Harrop, 23, insists he has put the injury behind him and cannot wait for the campaign to start against Millwall at The Den on Saturday.
He might have a bit to do yet in terms of a start but is on the right track.
“My knee is not something I’m worried about anymore,” Harrop told the Lancashire Post.
“I’ve just been cracking on with training and getting as fit as possible ready to start the season.
“Honestly, I’ve just put the injury to the back of my mind and my only focus is playing and training well.
“I do a lot of recovery work after training to make sure I’m ready to train again the next day.
“At Fleetwood the other night I got my first 90 minutes in the legs, which was good.
“That was a step forward and every day I have found myself getting that bit sharper and that bit fitter.
“In the first few weeks of training your legs feel that bit heavier and not as sharp.
“Now I can feel that extra sharpness in the legs and I feel a lot better for it.”
Harrop has been steadily managed by the North End staff this pre-season.
When he got a knock in the second friendly against Cork earlier in the month, he was substituted straight away.
But he was back training within a couple of days and featured in the next friendly.
Against Accrington last Tuesday night, he played 70 minutes and built that up to the full 90 at Fleetwood. Preston boss Alex Neil has in the main in pre-season used Harrop on the left-hand side of the attack, cutting inside on to his right foot.
The former Manchester United man is also an option in the No.10 role and in the centre of midfield.
In the same boat as Harrop has been Billy Bodin, the pair having suffered the same type of injury.
Bodin, 27, missed all of last season after being injured five days before kick-off.
Harrop was hurt in the 3-2 defeat to West Bromwich at Deepdale on September 29.
“This week is a big one in terms of training ahead of the new season,” said Harrop.
“We all want to be ready and sharp for Millwall, make a good start to the season.
“Pre-season is done, the friendlies have been played and it’s full on now.”
Tickets for the Millwall game remain on sale, priced £26 for adults, £17 senior citizens, £14 under 18s, £12 under 16s and £7 under 12s.