Preston North End midfielder back after surgery as Ryan Lowe runs the rule over three youngsters in training

Ryan Lowe is looking forward to seeing a fully-fit Ryan Ledson press a claim for a place in Preston North End’s midfield.

By Dave Seddon
Saturday, 7th May 2022, 8:00 am

Ledson made a surprise return to full training on Wednesday following a knee operation and could make the squad against Middlesbrough at Deepdale today (12.30pm).

The 24-year-old was ruled out for the rest of the season when he had clear-out keyhole surgery on his right knee in March.

However, he’s made very good progress in his rehabilitation and has put himself in contention for the final-day fixture.

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PNE manager Lowe said: “Ryan has been champing at the bit to get on the pitch and be in the squad.

"A couple of years ago he played a lot of games and was the player of the year here. I want to get that Ryan Ledson back, the one who performs well on a weekly basis.

"He performed well enough when he was in the team after I came in but I could see he wasn’t 100% right.

"Ryan was doing what any player does when a new manager comes in, he wanted to show what he could do. He was limited though, so I took things out of his hands and we sent him to see the surgeon to get the clear-out of his knee done.

"He says he now gets out of bed in a morning in no pain, he used to be getting up with lots of pain.

“Seeing a proper Ryan Ledson who is 100% fit and not 90% fit, will be great.”

Ledson and his first-team colleagues had the company of three of the club’s youngsters for training on Thursday and Friday.

Second-year scholars Dana Amaral and Aaron Bennett together with first-year pro Lewis Coulton, were called to Euxton as part of Lowe’s planning for next season.

Holding midfielder Amaral has caught the eye in the reserves and youth-team, likewise Bennett who has already been offered a professional deal.

Coulton training with the squad could well be a signal that PNE are going to take up the option of a 12-month extension on the left wing-back’s contract.

The 19-year-old recently had a loan spell with Warrington Town and before that at Bamber Bridge.

The trio have recently seen Mikey O’Neill get his chance in the first-team squad.

Lowe said: “We got the lads up to train with us. Aaron Bennett is just coming back from a long injury so we have to plan for him to get super fit so he can showcase himself in pre-season.

"Dana’s scholarship contract is up soon and we wanted to have a look at him. We will probably extend his stay and try and develop him because we like the type of footballer he is.

"Lewis is the same, he’s a left wing-back and we want to look at him.”