Preston boss Phil Brown is backing midfielder Paul Coutts to return to full fitness in time for pre-season training after he underwent groin surgery.

Coutts scored in Saturday's 2-1 defeat to Ipswich at Portman Road but will not play again this term following surgery to rectify groin problems which have hampered him for much of the season.

Coutts has made just seven appearances during Brown's four months in charge.

And the Deepdale boss said: "It's been the type of season which no player wants to go through.

"Unfortunately, Saturday was his last contribution of the season. He needs an operation and hopefully he will be back in full flow for the start of pre-season training.

"A lot of these players will benefit with a good pre-season under their belts, none more so than Paul Coutts."