Preston North End forward Billy Bodin is ready for a busy summer as he looks to return for pre-season ready to show what he is about after a year on the sidelines.
The 27-year-old winger joined the club in January 2018 and made 19 appearances, scoring once in his first few months of the club.
He then impressed in pre-season last summer, scoring a memorable goal against West Ham United at Deepdale, but damaged his cruciate ligament in training in the final week before the season began, ruling him out for the whole 2018/19 campaign.
He finally returned to training with the squad in the last couple of weeks of the season and he admitted to iFollow PNE that it had been tough to deal with, but he was now ready to push on again.
“It has been tough; especially with the injury coming before the season even started,” said the No.39. “It was stressful, but to be back on the pitch with all the lads for the last two or three weeks, was great – especially for me and Josh [Harrop].
“We had to do our rehab together and that has been a big help, but it is good to be back and joining in with the boys.
“I have done it before. So I knew what was ahead of me and what I had to do, but having Josh there was a big help, because being in that gym on your own every day is not the best and not what you want and I did that for the first month or two, so for him to be there.
“We were able to push each other and help each other along the way and then to both come back and join in with the lads without any other issues was good and hopefully we can now have a good pre-season and season to follow.
“It was tough the first couple of weeks. Just getting my head around the fact that I was going to miss the whole season, that was probably the worst thing. I was trying not to let Jacko [Matt Jackson, club physio] tell me what it was, but deep down I knew straight away.
“The first couple of weeks were the toughest and when Josh did his, he didn’t really know how to deal with it in the first week, but these things happen in football and you just have to get on with it and try and become a stronger person from it, working week in, week out.”
The Welsh international was not left wanting in terms of company in the gym, with an inordinate amount of injuries suffered across the season and he says they all now have a plan to work to, to be ready to start on the first day of pre-season.
“The amount of injuries we have had is crazy,” he continued. “The lads work hard on the pitch and the training pitches, which probably has something to do with it, but it is mad that we have had so many injuries. Even though it is nice to have company in the gym, you don’t want to see your team-mates injured and we had some big players out at crucial times in the season.
“As much as, as an injured player, you want a bit of company, it is not good to see it and there were times during the season when we needed those players and in the end it turned out to be quite a big miss.
“All the injured lads have been given a schedule to go by. We are in most weeks, with the odd holiday, but with injuries like this, you have to keep on top of it and just keep building your muscle up and getting your strength back.
“It is going to be a strange off season for me, but one I am looking forward to and at the end of the day it is going to help me in the long run and help me come pre-season.”
And having missed a whole year, the former Bristol Rovers man now just wants to get back and show the fans what he has to offer the team.
“It was difficult for me to come into the team when I first signed and then I had a couple of little niggles.
“I broke my toe and didn’t train much in the last eight weeks of the season before, but to come back pre-season and score a few goals, I felt good and now I have to try and impress again in pre-season and I don’t have a suspension holding me back this time, and hopefully I can be in the team on the first game, working hard, ready to kick-on,” he added.