Darnell Fisher was left with mixed emotions after returning to action in Preston’s FA Cup exit at Sheffield United.
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The right back, a key figure since becoming Alex Neil’s first signing as North End boss, hadn’t played since the league meeting with the Blades at Deepdale back on December 16 due to a hip injury.
The 23-year-old managed 68 minutes of the 1-0 defeat at Bramall Lane, Billy Sharp’s penalty 10 minutes from time sending the hosts into the last 16.
“It was good to be back with the team but I’m obviously disappointed with how the game went,” Fisher said.
“I felt good. I had the hip injury which kept me out longer than I thought.
“It was frustrating but I needed the time to get my body back together.
“I was a bit tired in the first half but you get through it.
“You take time at throw-ins and things like that, especially away from home.
“The gaffer’s pulled me because he doesn’t want me to feel the injury again.
“He made the decision to take me off and hopefully that means I’ll be okay for Tuesday and Nottingham Forest.”
The game itself is one that won’t live long in the memory, Sharp being brought down by PNE skipper Tom Clarke before making no mistake from 12 yards late on.
“I don’t think there was much in it to be fair,” Fisher said.
“It’s just one of those games.
“It was a tight game and the penalty changed it.
“We had chances near the end. Jordan Hugill had one and on another day that goes in and we get a replay.”
Fisher returned to training last Monday before playing in a behind-closed-doors game on Wednesday.
He was back in the side on Saturday with Tommy Spurr, after more than four months out, and Calum Woods, who has been battling a hamstring problem, also named on the bench.
“It always seems to happen,” Fisher said.
“We’re all fit and then we’re all injured at the same time.
“Freaky things sometimes happen. That’s football. We’ve just had to get on with it.
“We’ve got another big game on Tuesday and then again on Saturday.
“We know we’ve got a lot of big games coming up and we’re still right there.
“Hopefully we can pick up a few points and push on.”