Had the season continued as normal back in March, before the lockdown, Billy Bodin’s season could have been over, however, the current difficult situation may have proved a blessing in disguise for the Welsh international winger.
The Lilywhites’ No.39 had a minor operation a short time before football’s suspension and the time at home has allowed him to recuperate and when it is safe to do so and football can return, he will be at a stage where he can step up his rehab, ready to return to the squad.
Billy gave an extended interview to the official website from his home this week and admitted that the resumption of training and playing again in the coming weeks, could be timed perfectly for him.
“I had my operation about a week before lockdown started and I had the time frame of four to six weeks before I could start running and doing a bit more and now I am at that stage, so in a way it has come as a bit of a blessing for me,” he told PNE.Com.
“Sometimes you feel you can do a little bit more, but as long as you are keeping in contact with the staff and keep letting them know where you are at, then it is good. You are just a text or a phonecall away from the staff and, so far, it has gone pretty well.
“It has happened at quite a good time and now I am ready to go back in and hopefully start training again.
“I am on the verge of jogging and running now and then when we are back, I will brush up on my fitness a little bit and after a week or two of that, then I can hopefully be straight back into training. It is a blessing in a way; all I want to do is play football and train and as long as it is the right time, I can’t wait.”
And when the team do return, they will quickly have nine big games to play, with the fight for promotion and the Play-Offs spots at a key stage: “It is nine massive games for us,” he continued.
“To start with, I was probably going to miss all of those games, so, to be in contention of being back around the squad and being around the lads, is even more exciting, because I thought I was going to miss out on it all.
“We have to hit the ground running; it has been said a few times on our group chat, but it is true. We have to pick up as many points as we can and maintain, or better, our position and try and get in the Play-Offs.
“Unless it is a reserve game, I have never played behind closed doors, but it is your job and you have to get on with it. The fans are a massive part, they spur you on at times when you are down and when you need that boost, but we will have to fight and try and get the most amount of points we can.
“It is going to be weird and tough, but it is a game of football and I sure we will know what our jobs are and treat it as a normal game.”
The former Bristol Rovers attacker thinks that the break will also benefit the squad, with him and other players suffering with injuries having an opportunity to get closer to a return, to add further competition to Alex Neil’s squad.
“I think the break will benefit us. We have had a great season, but it is not finished and we know how hard we have to work to get to the Play-Offs and the end of the season. It has benefitted me and a few others and everyone is going to be fighting to be in the team when we restart.
“It is a squad game and there are players who have come off the bench and got vital goals already this season and I am sure that everyone will play their part.
“When we do get green light, I am sure everyone will be keen to get back. The lads can’t wait to get back. Even in the normal off season, you want to get back and start playing again and I am sure everyone is itching to be back as soon as it is a safe environment,” he added.
There is plenty more in a near 20-minute chat with Billy, who discusses a new arrival in his household just before the lockdown, the squad’s aims on a return and the possibility of achieving promotion in front of no supporters – check out the video at the top of the story.