Return of Brad Potts to pre-season training will be big boost for Preston
A fully-fit Brad Potts stepping on to the training pitch today will be a big boost for Preston after the summer break.
The attacking midfielder was never on the losing side in the 10 games he played for PNE following his January move from Barnsley.
Losing the services of Potts to a knee injury in March was significant.
His last appearance was in the 1-0 win over Birmingham, a result which stretched the Lilywhites’ unbeaten run to 12 matches.
Without Potts and some other key players, Alex Neil’s men took only four points from the last eight games and fell away to finish 14th.
Potts had surgery to repair cartilage damage in his knee towards the end of the season and was in for spells during the summer break to carry on his rehab work.
More than five weeks of pre-season training is now ahead of him as he builds up to the August 3 start at Millwall.
Potts told Preston’s official website: “It has been a strange summer.
“It was my first one where I have had to come in due to injury.
“That has been frustrating but in the last couple of weeks I’ve been running and trying to push on and be ready for pre-season.
“I need to be as fit as I can, make sure my knee is right and then be fit to go.
“The physio has put me through my paces and it is good to come in, I feel I focus more in that environment.”
Potts, who turns 25 next week, hit the ground running after arriving in early January.
His debut was the 1-1 draw with Swansea at Deepdale which kicked-off North End’s unbeaten run.
He scored in successive away games at Queens Park Rangers and Stoke City.
Importantly. Potts built-up a good understanding with Alan Browne when playing as the midfield ‘runners’ as Neil described them, behind the main striker.
In early March, he missed the away wins at Blackburn and Middlesbrough with the knee injury.
He returned to play in the Birmingham game but limped off in the second half.
Potts is among a number of PNE players returning to training at Springfields today after missing varying spells of last season.
Winger Tom Barkhuizen missed the last two months after having cartilage surgery and also an operation to repair a broken wrist.
Billy Bodin missed all of the season with a ruptured ACL, Josh Harrop suffering the same injury in September.
Like Potts, Andrew Hughes limped out of the Birmingham game and didn’t play again.
The left-back suffered a 22cm tear in his hamstring that day and was badly missed in those last few games.