Patrick Bauer on his journey back from a ruptured achilles to Preston North End match winner
Preston North End defender Patrick Bauer is grateful to be back playing football after having to endure eight months away from the pitch and a rehabilitation journey.
The German ruptured his Achilles back in December but made his return to league action in the 1-0 win over Peterborough United at the weekend, scoring the only goal.
The 28-year-old was a commanding presence in the centre of the back three and his passion to keep a clean sheet was there for all to see.
A video from the club was made showing a last-minute save from Daniel Iversen and in it Bauer and fellow defender Andrew Hughes were both seen giving a piece of their mind to poor Emil Riis, who was back at wing-back covering.
It was the final seconds of the game and the Dane attempted to slip Josh Earl in on goal rather than run down the clock – something that didn’t go down well with his 6’ 4” team-mate.
Bauer told the Lancashire Post: “I enjoyed it, it was my first Championship game in over eight months.
“I was really excited about it, we got the three points, a clean sheet and also I got a goal.
“It was really good.
“I thought the boys had been unlucky to have not got any points but thankfully we got our first three points on the board.
“There was a point with just a few more seconds to play and as a defender you just want somebody to take the ball into the corner and let the time run out.
“In this situation we lost it and they had a dangerous attack.
“After the game we were good – what happens in the game is not important, it’s important that after the game everything is clear.
“It shows that after the game our first thought wasn’t even celebrating, we were just furious!
“It shows how much it means to us.”
Bauer has had to work hard to get back to where he is, from being stretchered off at Bournemouth to securing the Lilywhites’ first points of the season.
Fortunately for the PNE defender, those in charge of rehabilitating him had done so before with former North End captain Tom Clarke.
There was also a familial connection, as Bauer’s brother had suffered the same injury whilst playing Sunday league football and was able to offer words of reassurance.
Bauer said: “When it happens, for the first few weeks you have to wear a cast or you’re in a boot.
“Basically, you lose all your strength in your leg.
“I remember that I wasn’t even able to stand on one leg at the start, all my strength and all my muscle was gone.
“Steadily you need to build up everything.
“I also needed to learn how to walk and run again.
“It took quite a while but thankfully everything went well and I’m back playing now.
“It was quite frustrating because I haven’t been badly injured before.
“The physios all knew the process from Tom Clarke who in the past had the same injury.
“They told me about their experience and I followed their protocol and it got me back playing.
“My brother had the same injury when he was the same age so I talked a lot to him. He said to me, ‘Pat, don’t worry about it. If you work hard on your rehab you’ll be back stronger’.
“He said his damaged Achilles feels stronger now than the healthy one. That was really nice to hear and it gave me faith in everything.
“My injured Achilles feels really strong, I don’t have any problems with it, I’m really happy with how it went.”
Bauer made his return to competitive action in the first round of the Carabao Cup, a 3-0 victory over Mansfield
It was a game earmarked for the defender by his head coach Frankie McAvoy so as not to rush him back into action too quickly.
Needs must, however, as Liam Lindsay was forced to self-isolate on Saturday and Bauer was back into the fray earlier than expected.
The second round of the cup was supposed to be next on the list for PNE’s No.5 – a trip to Morecambe on Tuesday evening (7:45pm).
Having knocked out Championship opposition already, the Shrimps will be no pushovers.
There will be a sell-out away following from the Preston faithful and Bauer is looking forward to the occasion.
He said: “You could see in the Blackburn game, where they beat them in the first round, that it will be a tough game – like every cup game is.
“We will face them at their home so I expect it’ll be a really tough game but thankfully our supporters are travelling to the game and I’m looking forward to it.”
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