Ben Pearson insists Preston North End now have “no excuses” with a host of players back available to Alex Neil.
The Lilywhites boss has seen Pearson return from suspension, others recover from injury and made four new signings during the January transfer window.
Neil therefore takes his side to QPR on Saturday with options aplenty having seen his squad stretched to the limit over Christmas and New Year.
That is part of the reason PNE haven’t won since December 15 and sit 18th in the Championship, seven points clear of the relegation places.
“Probably for the first time this season we’ve got pretty much the full squad available,” said Pearson.
“We had high expectations at the start with the squad we’ve got.
“But we got two serious injuries and then another five, six, seven, eight along the way.
“There were also suspensions for me, Ryan Ledson and Paul Gallagher as well.
“It’s been tough for everyone.
“We need to get the squad together now and then have 10 to 15 games with our strongest squad available and see where that takes us.
“I don’t think there’s any excuses now.
“We’ve got to crack on and perform how we did last year.”
PNE arguably exceeded expectations last season as they finished seventh and came so close to a spot in the play-offs.
Now it is more a case of steering clear of danger, rather than any loftier ambitions.
“To start with we’ve just got to make sure we stay in the league as a main priority,” Pearson admitted.
“The squad’s far too good to be at the bottom of the table.
“That’s got to be the first objective but hopefully we can kick on over the next few games and then we’ll look up towards the higher end of the table.
“We should be a lot higher. For the fans we should be in and around the play-offs really.
“On our day we can beat anyone in this league comfortably.
“I was optimistic about what we could do and looking back it’s disappointing but we’ve just got to deal with it and do the best we can.”