PNE left-back Greg Cunningham is putting injury behind him

Greg Cunningham thinks he is up to full speed after four games back in the Preston North End side.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 24th January 2018, 5:00 am

The left-back missed most of the first half of the season after having surgery to repair a serious hamstring injury.

He returned for the 1-0 win against Cardiff at the end of last month.

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PNE left-back Greg Cunningham has played four games since returning from injury

Cunningham said: “I’m feeling good, we have had a nice schedule of Saturday-to-Saturday games which has meant I’ve had plenty of time to recover in between.

“As far as I’m concerned, the injury is behind me and I’m back.

“I’ve got minutes under my belt which was the aim when I initially came back.

“When we start with the Saturday-Tuesday games I will be as sharp as can be, there should not be an issue.

PNE left-back Greg Cunningham has played four games since returning from injury

“In terms of the fitness, it is a case of getting both the legs and lungs going again.

“You can do all that you want on the training pitch but nothing compares to a match situation – the intensity and tempo of it.”

North End have carefully managed Cunningham.

After playing at Cardiff, he was left on the bench for the New Year’s Day clash against Middlesbrough three days later.

He has played the last three matches against Wycombe, Millwall and Birmingham.

The Birmingham game was not PNE’s finest hour and they were fortunate to get a share of the points.

Cunningham said: “It was frustrating that we didn’t play well and to be fair displays like that are not like us.

“When you compare where both sides are in the league, with all due respect to them we were looking at the game and fancying ourselves.

“We know what is in our dressing room, we know what can be achieved. We want to be in the play-offs come the first weekend in May, so to play like we did last week was disappointing.”

Cunningham played in both full-back roles against Birmingham, moving from left to right at half-time.

The 25-year-old needed to show his versatility when an injury forced Ben Davies off.

He moved to right-back with Tom Clarke switching into the middle.

Josh Earl came off the bench to fill the left-back void, Earl himself returning after an injury lay-off.

Said Cunningham: “Josh did really well, he made a great statement in the early seconds of the half with a tackle on Maghoma.

“It’s been frustrating for him with his injury and he’ll be pleased to be back.

“With myself switching to right-back, I’ll play wherever the gaffer puts me and I’ll put in a shift.

“You have to alter your body shape on that side but that is how it is.”