Exclusive Tom Barkhuizen Preston North End column: My knee is fixed – now to mend my fractured wrist

Taking instruction from Preston manager Alex Neil
Taking instruction from Preston manager Alex Neil

Five weeks ago I had an operation on me knee and next week I am going in for surgery to repair my broken wrist.

By the time I’ve done all my rehab work, I will be fine to start pre-season training and focus on next season, so happy days.

The injury to my knee was a torn meniscus and that needed a bit of work to clean and tidy it all up.

I initially tore it last year but managed to play on for the rest of last season – I was unable to train much but got through the games.

Once the season finished the injury died down and I was able to play as normal this season.

But in training at the start of March I went over on it again and got another tear which went through the last tear.

It was between the Bristol City and Bolton games and it has been frustrating that I haven’t been able to play.

However, as injuries go it could have been a lot worse and my rehab work is going really well.

My wrist injury also goes back to last year, I broke the scaphoid bone at the back end of the last season.

I can’t even remember when I did it, I just thought I had a sprained wrist and that it was a bit sore.

When I got it checked out, they found a fracture and I’ve played with it strapped- up this season.

I’m going to have surgery to sort it now, otherwise I’ll have arthritis in my wrist by the time I’m 30, which is not ideal.

The operation involves putting some bone and metal in the fracture.

Hopefully that will do the trick and over the summer I’ll do some work to build up the arm. It was always the plan to get my wrist sorted out at the end of the season and the fact I’m out with my knee means it can be done a bit earlier.

When I look back at my season, it has been one of ups and downs.

I have gone through a couple of spells when I have played very well and then there have been a couple of spells where I didn’t think my form was very good.

That is part and parcel of being a footballer.

Confidence comes and goes, how you play comes and goes, how the team plays comes and goes.

There have been times when I have got frustrated with myself and that has shown, while there have been other times when I have really happy with how I have played.

Defensively, I think I have become of the best wingers in the league for doing that job.

Going forward there have been times when I could have done better.

Inside me there is a little bit of frustration about my offensive play – I’m in the team to be an attacker so I want to do that side of things a bit better.

If I had stayed fit and not got the knee injury, I would have backed myself to get into double figures of goals for the season.

I’ve scored seven and just before I got injured I told the gaffer I’d get to 10 .

I think the season has been frustrating for all of us here, had its ups and downs.

Injuries have played a big part, in that we seem to get a player back and then lose three or four players at once to injuries – and not small ones either.

I know the gaffer has come out and said he is going to have a look at what we can do to prevent the injuries but in my opinion there has been a lot of bad luck involved.

I don’t think that we train any differently here to how other clubs do.

We play at a really high tempo but a lot of teams do likewise.

If we can have a season where the injuries come at a normal rate, we would have a hell of a good chance of the top six in my opinion.

But this season, like last season, we have just fallen a bit short.

The way that our transfer strategy works, we get a lot of players from the lower leagues, like myself.

The adaptation to the tempo in the Championship to what you are used to in the lower divisions, does take a little while.

Maybe that adjustment means a few more injuries, while you’ve got to accept that some players pick up certain kinds of injuries more than others do.

Touch wood, I don’t tend to get muscular injuries but there are other players who will do – if your hamstring goes once, the chances are quite high that at some point it will go again.

You look at Sean Maguire, he spends a lot of time in the gym and is probably one of the most professional lads I have played with.

But he’s had some bad luck since coming here and you can’t blame anyone for that. Injuries are something which come with playing.