Preston North End midfielder Paul Gallagher has taken the first steps towards what he hopes can be a pain-free 2016/17 campaign.
Gallagher had an operation last Wednesday to repair a hernia and was back at the Springfields training ground the following morning to start his rehab work.
He had team-mate Alan Browne for company in hospital, Browne having the same operation carried out by the same specialist.
“I went first and then Browney had his done – he was a bit more nervous about it all,” Gallagher told the Evening Post.
“To be fair, I had never had an operation before but was looking forward to a good sleep – you don’t get that when you have three kids!
“It is nice to get the injury sorted out and hopefully I won’t take too long to recover.
“With the operation, they have to cut a few muscles, move your tubes around and put a mesh in to fill the hole in.
“It’s a pretty simple thing to do I’m told, although obviously I was flat out.
“One of our physios, Lewis Hiney, came to the hospital with us to watch the operations and explained what they did.
“Other players have got back in two or three weeks and that is the sort of timescale I’m aiming at.
“I’m looking to be running in two weeks, get back to the twisting and turning.
“With them cutting the muscles in the operation, it is a bit tender at the moment.
“I had the injury for a lot of last season and got used to the pain and discomfort. So I’m looking forward to being pain-free when we start up again.
“I don’t think I missed one training session last season, it was just a case of managing myself in training.
“I knew when to run like a madman and when to take a back seat and let the others do the running around.
“In terms of the games, I started every league match from Cardiff in mid-October to the end of the season.
“I had missed a handful in September because of a calf strain which was disappointing.
“As a footballer, you are a long time retired, so I want to play as many games as possible during my career.
“Over the next few weeks, I’ll do my rehab, get a bit of rest and go on holiday.
“It is a bit of a longer break this year because in the last two seasons, we got to the play-offs.”
“By the time we come back at the end of June, we will all be refreshed and ready to get going for a big season.
“We want to build on what we did in the season just finished – 11th was great and the aim is to improve.
“It was a tough division last season and it looks like being even tougher when you look at the teams who have come down.”
Meanwhile, ex-PNE right-back David Gray scored Hibernian’s winning goal against Rangers in the Scottish Cup final.
Hibs won 3-2 at Hampden Park – their first cup final success for 102 years.