Preston defender Tommy Spurr says he has managed to get back playing ahead of schedule after suffering an ankle injury in pre-season.
The summer signing from Blackburn damaged a ligament in his right ankle during last month’s friendly at Chorley.
It had the potential to rule him out for up to six weeks but he got back within two-and-a-half weeks.
Spurr has featured in two of the friendlies since recovering, his 30 minutes of action against Bolton coming on the back of a run-out in the second half at Morecambe a week ago.
Provided he comes through training unscathed this week, the 28-year-old will make the PNE squad for Saturday’s league opener at Reading.
“I’m probably lucky that I only missed two weeks or so because the swelling on the ankle came up quite big,” Spurr told the Evening Post.
“I worked hard with the physio to get back to the point where I could start training with the lads again.
“The physio said it was a grade-two injury to the ligament which is normally four to six weeks out.
“So I have done well to get back with the help of the physio.
“It was frustrating to get the injury because I wanted to come in here and get straight into things.
“The plan to play as much in pre-season as possible backfired a bit. I probably did the physio’s head in because I kept asking him to let me go out and train.
“He held me back a little bit to make sure I was okay and it was the right thing to do.”
Spurr’s injury came the day before North End headed to Ireland for six days’ training at Fota Island.
He still travelled but much of his time was spent in the gym doing his rehab work.
“It was nice to go away with the lads and get to know them all a bit better,” said Spurr.
“The training pitches looked good but I was inside in the gym, sat on the rowing machine and bike.
“Watching the lads do the football work was frustrating but that’s how it was.
“I’ve had two run-outs now in a short space of time and it is a case of working hard to get to full sharpness.
“Having half-an-hour running up and down the pitch as a wing-back at Bolton was very good for my fitness.
“I can’t wait until the season starts at Reading this weekend, when there is something real riding on the game. That gets your adrenaline going and there is no better feelin.
“Training this week will be based on our approach to Reading.”
Spurr could get some game-time tonight when a Preston XI face Lancaster City at Giant Axe (7pm).
PNE boss Simon Grayson said: “One or two might play because they have missed game-time recently.”