Monday’s 2-0 defeat at Wigan Athletic means there isn’t much to shout about for North End right now. It’s five defeats in six, and the season is well and truly over with two games still to go.
If there is one piece of good news to emerge since the 4-0 win over Ipswich Town on Friday, it’s surrounding Josh Harrop. The 23-year-old hasn’t played since September, when he tore his anterior cruciate ligament against West Brom.
ACL tears can take anywhere between six months and a year to return from, and Harrop is now at seven months out. Alex Neil has previously admitted that he won’t be rushing Harrop or Billy Bodin back this season, having both suffered the same injury.
Instead, Harrop will be looking for a big pre-season. Fortunately, he’s been given a major boost ahead of the summer, having returned to training in recent days.
Harrop has taken to Twitter to announce that he took part in his first training session since his injury on Sunday, as he ramps up his return.
Seani Maguire and Callum Robinson both sent messages of support to their teammate, who needs to hit the ground running this summer having been in and out of the side throughout Neil’s reign.
Harrop is neat and tidy, but hasn’t impacted games as desired. His set pieces have been dangerous, and he clearly has bags of ability. However, we’ve always been left wanting that little bit more from the ex-Manchester United man.
A battling display at Leeds back in August showed that Harrop has the grit to play in a deeper role. With Neil recently preferring a 4-1-4-1 system, Harrop could feature in one of those central roles – but he’ll need to prove his fitness this summer.
It’s been a long time out working hard in the gym! But great feeling to be back with the boys today doing my first training session @pnefc
— Josh Harrop (@joshharrop23) April 21, 2019
Good to have you back brother 🙌🏼
— Seani Maguire (@Seani_Maguire_) April 21, 2019