PNE forward raring to go
Tom Barkhuizen is well down the road towards full fitness after having hernia surgery at the end of the season.
The Preston striker had carried the injury for a number of weeks, including the spell when he scored six goals in six starts.
He had the operation three days after the last game of the campaign and is now able to do a normal summer fitness programme.
That will keep him in shape ready for the return to pre-season training on June 29.
“I feel fine – the operation went well,” Barkhuizen told the Post.
“We played at Wolves on the Sunday and I went in for surgery on the Wednesday.
“I was only in hospital four or five hours, so happy days.
“A couple of days after the operation I was back working with our physio Matt Jackson.
“He’s been working with me to strengthen that area and the exercises are ones I will have to do for the next few weeks.
“I was back running soon after and it certainly feels a lot better.
“It is surprisingly how soon the pain went – for a couple of days afterwards it was sore but I’ve been fine since.
“We’ve all got a summer programme to do and I did a run the other day which felt good.
“There are a few weeks to go until we come back but that time will fly by.”
Watching Barkhuizen play, there was little evidence he had the hernia.
During March and early April, the 23-year-old scored six goals in his first six starts for North End.
That run came after some impressive cameo displays from the bench.
All in all, it was a very good start to his time in a Preston shirt after January’s move from Morecambe.
Said Barkhuizen: “It was an annoying injury rather than one which restricted me.
“Out on the pitch, I wouldn’t notice it, I was able to play without a problem.
“In the dressing room at half-time, I’d start to feel a bit of discomfort but once I got out for second half and began running around, it felt fine.
“I just had to manage it, rest at the right times and get myself ready in training.
“It was the first time I’d had an injury of that nature.
“When you look at what happened to some other lads towards the end of the season, I got off quite lightly.
“We lost Tom Clarke and Greg Cunningham to some big injuries – Tom’s damaged Achilles tendon in particular.
“This hernia was nothing compared to that, more of an inconvenience – just one of those things I had to deal with.
“Since the operation, I’ve enjoyed the summer break.
“I’ve chilled out, played a bit of golf, been in the garden and relaxed.”