Return in sight for PNE’s Woods after full season out

Calum Woods
Calum Woods
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Preston North End defender Calum Woods will be a man on a mission over the next few weeks after losing a season to a serious knee injury.

Woods tore the cruciate and medial ligaments in his right knee last July, ruling him out of the whole of the 2016/17 campaign.

The return to pre-season training this week – a time players usually dread – is one which the right-back cannot wait to come round.

That will be a major step in his recovery and the build-up to the return to the pitch.

Woods told the Post: “I’m champing at the bit to get back, I can’t wait to get down to business again.

“I’ve been on holiday with my family to Florida and in the last couple of days, I started to think about pre-season and couldn’t wait for it to come.

“On Thursday and Friday last week, I was back in at the training ground doing some work with Lewis Hiney who is one of the physios.

“I’ve actually been in quite a bit over the summer, just to keep ticking over and to work on strengthening my knee.

“At the end of last season, I joined in with the lads for the last couple of sessions.

“To be back kicking a ball with them after all that time in the gym and all the running, was a great feeling.

“It gave me a great boost and it was nice not having to wait all summer to join in with a proper session.

“The knee feels fine now and it will be a case of keeping on top of it over the next few weeks and months, making sure I keep it strong.

“It was a bad injury, two of the ligaments were damaged and needed repairing.”

Woods was injured in the pre-season friendly at Oldham nearly 11 months ago.

Coming on the back of an impressive 2015/16 season, it was a major blow.

Woods said: “I was gutted when I learned the full extent of the injury.

“The surgeon told me I was going to miss a full season and that is never nice to hear.

“But once I got my head around it and knew I could make a full recovery, I just got on with it.

“I’ve been back running for quite a while, a good few months, and then to get those couple of football sessions at the end was brilliant.

“The physios and fitness staff are brilliant here, Matt Jackson and Lewis Hiney have helped me so much.

“There have been other lads in the same boat as me with long-term injuries.

“Stevie May was coming back from a similar injury when I did my knee, so it was good to be able to talk with him about it.

“To see Stevie back playing at the end of last season was brilliant.

“John Welsh was with me in the gym for long spells too and we kept each other going.”