Preston North End midfielder Brad Potts believes the Lilywhites can compete at the top end of the Championship
The Lilywhites won eight and drew four of their 12 league games in a two-month period between mid-January and the middle of March.
Midfielder Potts featured in 10 of those matches after his arrival from Barnsley and believes the spell was potentially a taste of things to come.
Before Christmas, North End had put together a run of just one defeat in 13 games.
However, a poor start and a poor finish book-ended those two impressive spells.
Potts told the Lancashire Post: “We are in a really tough division but it is a great one to play in.
“There are a lot of big teams in there, every year you get more big ones down from the Premier League which just adds to it.
“Yes, it’s competitive but some of the performances last season showed that we could compete with anyone.
“The Championship is very intense, lots of games come close together like at the start of the season.
“That is why teams have big squads and squad rotation.
“We are in the early days of pre-season but already we are looking forward to the first league game and working hard towards it.
“On the first day back we had a meeting with the gaffer about our aims for the season.
“We already knew what we want to do here.”
Potts was delighted to have been able to start pre-season training with his team-mates after missing the final two months of last season.
He had surgery to repair damaged knee cartilage but is now back to good health.
“To be injured for those last couple of months was very disappointing,” said Potts.
“It turned out that I had a tear in the cartilage although at first we didn’t think that was what the problem was.
“A couple of weeks down the line we found out what it was and that I needed to have an operation.
“I’d missed a couple of games hoping that would do the trick but when we played the Birmingham game I could tell from early on that I wouldn’t get through it.
“I had the operation and came in during the summer to do my rehab.
“It was only about three weeks ago that I was able to start running but before that I was getting the knee strong again and building it up.
“On the first day back I was able to get out there and do all of the work the other lads were doing.”
Meanwhile, PNE keeper Chris Maxwell completed a move to Hibernian yesterday on a season-long loan.
It will take him through to the end of his contract with North End.