Billy Bodin was delighted to get back out on the pitch last weekend after expecting to miss the remainder of the season through injury.
The forward was a late substitute against Luton Town on Saturday and although it wasn't the result he had hoped for as North End were pegged back late in the game, Bodin admitted it was a good feeling to be back in competitive action.
Speaking to iFollow PNE ahead of Saturday's visit of fellow Play-Off hopefuls Cardiff City, the Welshman said: "From thinking that you were going to miss the rest of the season to find you are going to get a chance to recover and get back on the pitch was good. Just to get back training was a bonus but to get a few minutes was nice.
"Once everyone was back in training I had two weeks doing my rehab and I knew I was going to get back to play some sort of part but I didn't really know when so that went well and I've been training with the lads for two weeks now so I'm just happy to be back in the mix and being involved in games.
"Obviously I missed the two friendlies we've had but it was nice to be back out there is was just a shame about the result really."
The 28-year-old will be hoping to get more game time this weekend when the Bluebirds visit Deepdale, and it's a game Billy is looking forward to more than most due to his family connections.
"We were unlucky last time we played them to be fair. Most of my family are Cardiff fans so it would be nice to get a start against them and hopefully even a goal but even if it's off the bench that would do me. I'm sure the family wouldn't be happy but that's part of football and we can't wait to get back on the pitch on Saturday after dropping two points at the weekend.
"I think the fact we are still in sixth position gives us a bit of a boost and we've got to forget about the weekend now and just look forward to the next eight games.
Neil Harris' side come in this weekend's game on the back of an impressive win away to second-placed Leeds United on Sunday and Billy is aware of the threats they pose but is hopeful North End will be able to overcome them.
"I watched the game, they are quite a direct team and they are hard to play against, we've seen that when we played at their place. It's going to be a tough game and they've obviously got some quality in their team as well. I think a lot of people thing they are just a long ball team but they've got players who can create stuff out of nothing like Tomlin and Hoillett so it's going to be another tough challenge.
"They have just beaten a very good team in Leeds so they are obviously a good team, they were in the Premier League last year so we have got to be on our game and the fact we are at home I think it will be a massive favour for us, even without the fans, and it's a game the lads are looking forward to.
"We always seem to play better at home, the pitch is a lot bigger and it suits us a lot more so I think the lads are buzzing to get back to Deepdale and we know we are normally a lot stronger at home for some reason but the lads can't wait to put last Saturday's game to bed and try and get another three points which is needed really."
With a hectic schedule ahead to finish the Championship season, North End boss Alex Neil will need to call on every member of his squad to be ready to play their part, something that Bodin says the squad are aware of as they all look to take their opportunity when it comes along.
"The fact there are so many games in such a short space of time the manager has already said everyone will be getting used at some stage so you've just got to keep as fit as you can and make sure you are ready for when you are called upon.
"Everyone has been working hard in training and when you get your chance you have obviously got to take it.
"I've still got a bit more to do on my fitness but in terms of the injury and everything else I feel good. I've been trying to do my best in training and working hard and hopefully in a few weeks I might get a start, the fitter I get the more I will be pushing to get back in to the starting Xl."