Patrick Bauer said “it felt really good” to be back training with his team-mates on the first day of pre-season following a long spell out of action with injury.
The central defender damaged his Achilles tendon back in December in a 3-2 victory against AFC Bournemouth and he has been working hard to make a return to fitness ever since.
While admitting the period on the sidelines has been a difficult one, Pat is now ready to put that behind him and look ahead to playing again.
“It’s been a really hard seven months,” he told iFollow PNE. “First of all I’d like to say a big thank you to my family, who have stuck with me for the last seven months, it wasn’t really easy.
“Especially to my wife who has been really supportive and of course to all of the staff at Preston, especially Jacko [Matt Jackson] and Tim [Horn], who I’ve spent a lot of time with over the last seven months in the treatment room.
“Of course also to my team-mates and the supporters who have been really supportive in the last few months, but yeah it felt really good today to be back training with the boys.
“It’s been a long time. I’m really excited about being back on the pitch with them and looking forward to the season ahead.”
Thursday was the first official day of pre-season training for the whole squad, but it’s certainly not the first time this summer Pat’s taken to the grass.
He’s been working hard both down at Springfields and Euxton to get up to speed in preparation for this morning.
Pat said: “It’s always really hard when you’re injured to sit out in the stands watching the boys play, but I think I’ve got that time over and I can hopefully be back stronger.
“I think, apart from one week when I was abroad in Portugal, I trained the whole summer and it’s definitely paying off. I feel really good, in really good shape so I’m looking forward to the next sessions.
“In pre-season you always work for the rest of the season so the base needs to be really good, you need to get yourself in a very good shape and I can’t wait.
“It has been so long since I’ve been in a proper match so I can’t wait to face Bamber Bridge next week.”
PNE know that a home game on the opening day of the Championship season is waiting for them when their pre-season schedule comes to an end, and seeing the fans back inside Deepdale is a prospect Pat is looking forward to.
“It hasn’t been the same,” added Pat. “Football without fans is absolutely not the same. I was fortunate to be in Wembley Stadium on Tuesday, for the first time live [since Covid], I saw how much the fans make a difference with the atmosphere so I can’t wait to welcome the fans back to Deepdale soon.”
Hear more from Pat in his full interview with iFollow PNE above.