Returning midfielder Ryan Ledson hoping PNE can be 'right up there' in the Championship next season

Preston North End midfielder Ryan Ledson is hoping the club can be 'right up there' in what will be boss Ryan Lowe's first full season in charge.

By Dan Black
Friday, 17th June 2022, 6:00 am

The 24-year-old understands that time is of the essence ahead of the 2022-23 campaign, with the squad's pre-season return brought forward due to the Qatar World Cup.

But the former Oxford United man has been buoyed by his fellow Merseysider’s impact at Deepdale since his appointment as Frankie McAvoy's successor in December and he's backing the ex-Plymouth Argyle chief to have the Lilywhites ready.

“It’s going to be a different season and we’re going to need a big squad, a good squad to compete," he told PNE.com.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

MORECAMBE, ENGLAND - AUGUST 24: Ryan Ledson of Preston North End runs with the ball during the Carabao Cup Second Round match between Morecambe and Preston North End at Globe Arena on August 24, 2021 in Morecambe, England. (Photo by Charlotte Tattersall/Getty Images)

“It gives him [Ryan Lowe] four weeks on the training pitch to get what he wants in the building and to get that into the new lads who are going to sign.

“Obviously he’s had a positive impact since he’s come in so hopefully he can have a first full season and we can be right up there.”

Ledson, who is closing in on his 100th Championship appearance for North End, could reach that three-figure milestone sooner than expected after making a swift recovery from knee surgery.

PNE's Player of the Year for 2020-21 underwent a successful operation to clear up a recurring issue in March and, owing to the speed of his rehabilitation, made a surprise return to action on the final day last season.

PRESTON, ENGLAND - MARCH 20: Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu of Luton Town and Ryan Ledson of Preston North End battle for the ball during the Sky Bet Championship match between Preston North End and Luton Town at Deepdale on March 20, 2021 in Preston, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

He said: “I just didn’t feel myself when I was training or playing, so to get the operation which has obviously been a successful one and to get back for the last game of the season was brilliant.

“Initially we thought the season was going to be over, but to get the last ten minutes or so in the last game was a plus for me."

The ex-Everton midfielder, who made his one and only appearance for the Toffees in a 1-0 defeat to FK Krasnodar at Goodison Park in a Europa League fixture in 2014, replaced Ben Whiteman with five minutes remaining as the Lilywhites thrashed Middlesbrough 4-1 to end their play-off pursuit.

Ledson has enjoyed a break in Dubai during the off-season, but managed to get some warm-weather training under his belt alongside team-mate Brad Potts and other professionals.

“I think you’ve got to come back with a little bit of fitness," he said. "Obviously pre-season is to get fit, but we were out there and we did a few sessions.

“To be fair, the lads over there were brilliant. There’s a fella over there who’s a North End fan and we basically got in touch with him and he put a few sessions on.

“There’s lads [playing in] the Championship, League One and Scotland over there so it was good quality sessions.”

Back in England, he’s now using the club’s facilities to keep himself ticking over before returning for pre-season training on Monday, June 27.

With work ongoing to the pitches at Euxton, the midfielder was down at Springfields on Wednesday morning — alongside Whiteman — training with sports science assistant Luke Hemmings.

Ledson finished: “It’s just better to do a session with the lads and the fitness coach than going on your own to a field somewhere like the one near mine, so it’s better and they can look after you properly and condition you properly."