By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter
Shane Ferguson has spoken of his frustration at missing out on Newcastle's tour to Germany and Austria - but is determined to avoid a repeat of last season's injury-hit campaign.
The Northern Ireland international didn't travel with his team-mates for their three friendly matches against Chemitzer, Monaco and Fenerbahce after picking up a slight strain in training, and also missed out on last season's trip to the United States.
But whereas an ankle ligament injury interrupted his pre-season campaign last year and led to him missing the start of the season proper, the Derry-born left-footer has no such concerns this time around.
"The day that we were going to travel, I got a slight injury to my groin and it was too bad to go away on the trip, so they said to stay here and get treatment," he explained to nufc.co.uk from the club's Benton training ground.
"I should be back training in a week or two because it's not that bad.
"Last year, I got injured when I collided with Fraser Forster (at Darlington) but this one isn't serious - it's just a wee niggly one. And I suppose it's better to get the wee injuries out of the way before the season starts. I'd rather have it now than before the first match of the season."
Ferguson - who turned 21 last week - had to wait until December for his first Barclays Premier League appearance last season, due in no small part to his summer setback. But he ended the season strongly and hopes to remain part of Alan Pardew's plans next term.
"It was a good end to the season and I was involved a lot, so it was definitely a good experience," he said. "Hopefully I can just continue how I left off at the start of the season and try to be involved a lot more.
"Hopefully I'll be in and around the team all the time instead of being in the treatment room. I'll keep myself fit and do more stuff in the gym to keep me away from injuries, and then hopefully I'll be involved a lot more."