Striker Louis Moult targets a return to Preston North End training after a year out

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Preston North End are aiming to have Louis Moult back in training during pre-season.

It is nearly 12 months since the striker badly hurt his left knee in the early stages of a 3-2 defeat at Swansea.

He ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament and there was other damage too in the knee.

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Moult had surgery in York last September to repair the ACL and has been doing rehab work since.

Preston striker Louis MoultPreston striker Louis Moult
Preston striker Louis Moult

In recent weeks he had a minor clean-up operation on the knee to remove some discomfort he had felt after starting running.

Now recovered from that, he is edging closer to getting back to full training.

The August 13 return for the rest of the North End squad might come a bit too soon for Moult.

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But he could be back out with them on the training pitch by early September.

PNE fans and team-mates will be rooting to see Moult back involved, with him a hugely popular figure.

During his injury absence he did a lot to promote the excellent work of the Foxton Centre helping the homeless in the city. Moult, 28, launched the ‘Big Sleep Out’ at Deepdale last November.

That work saw him named as the club’s PFA Community Champion for this season.

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His injury so early in the 2019/20 campaign happened just after he had forced his way back into the side.

He had not made the squad for the opening-day game at Millwall but was recalled for the next match against Wigan at Deepdale.

Moult scored in that game, performing impressively and kept his place for the trip to Swansea.

Just 25 minutes into that game he chased a pass into the box, stretched to reach it and his weight went through his standing leg and caused the damage to his knee.

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He had to wait a few weeks to have the operation to allow the swelling in his knee to go down.

Moult could do with better fortune at PNE. He joined from Motherwell for £450,000 in January 2018, scoring twice in that half-season.

In the 2018/19 campaign he scored five goals but suffered a hamstring injury just as he was finding some form.

Moult got the winner at Nottingham Forest in December 2018 and it was in the week following that game that he felt the hamstring.

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He returned to play later that month but then did not feature again until March 2019.

Once Moult does return to training, it is naturally going to take him time to regain his full fitness and sharpness.

North End will be looking for more firepower in the meantime after a shortage of goals saw them miss out on a top-six place.