It's good to be Baps!
Alex Baptiste admitted to mixed feelings about his injury lay-off as he made his Preston North End return in the draw with Nottingham Forest.
The Middlesbrough loanee played the second 45 minutes of the 1-1 statlemate at Deepdale after three months out with a knee problem.
Time on the sidelines is frustrating for any player but the 31-year-old feared the training-ground injury was going to be much more serious.
“I thought I’d be out for a good six to nine months.” said Baptiste, whose last appearance had been the 1-1 draw with Sheffield Wednesday on New Year’s Eve.
“It was a relief. It was the best three-month lay-off I could have had.
“You’ve got to look on the bright side.
“When I first did it I genuinely thought the worst.
“It was a long five hours between doing the injury and having the scan.
“It could have been a lot worse and you’ve got to take the positives.”
The versatile defender slotted into a back three as North End improved after the interval against Forest, Aiden McGeady’s goal ultimately ensuring Simon Grayson’s side picked up a point.
“It’s been a long time and I was definitely worried coming on,” said Baptiste.
“It’s horrible being out for three months and it’s really pleasing to get back out on the pitch again.
“I need to work on my match fitness and that will come but it’s great to be part of the squad and back training again.”
The former Blackpool and Bolton man had been a key figure prior to his injury leaving many to ask where he will be playing his football next season with a year remaining on his Riverside deal.
“We’ll cross that bridge at the end of year,” said Baptiste.
“The main thing for me is stay fit and give Preston as much as I can from now until the end of the season.
“I’ll see. Middlesbrough have changed their manager and I don’t know what league they’ll be in either.
“I’ve really enjoyed my time here and I absolutely love the gaffer (Grayson) and Thommo (first team coach Steve Thompson) and Snods (assistant manager Glynn Snodin).
“It’s been really good and I’m really grateful to Preston for the opportunity they’ve given me.”
On paper the Forest point is a disappointing one with PNE now six points shy of the play-offs with seven games to play but Baptiste was keen to take the positives.
“I think you’ve got to give them credit first half, I thought they were really good,” he said.
“It’s hard to get points at this stage of the season and it might be a point gained.”