Ben Pearson was relieved to make a rapid return to the Preston North End side after a blow to the ribs left him struggling to breathe.
The combative midfielder was left sprawled out on the Deepdale turf by a challenge early in last Saturday’s clash with West Ham.
But after an early exit from that game, Pearson recovered sufficiently to play an hour of Monday 3-2 defeat to Burnley.
Pearson told the Post: “I got badly winded on Saturday, I couldn’t breathe for about 45 seconds and I was panicking a bit if I’m being honest.
“When I went back on the pitch I was struggling to breathe properly.
“I didn’t think there was any point risking carrying on or only playing at 70% or so with it being a friendly.
“So it was as a precaution that I came off . On Sunday morning I was fine and was able to train and I wanted to play the Burnley game on Monday because I needed minutes.
“I spoke to the gaffer about it and it was good to be back out there getting a run.
“It was an hour or so more in the tank and another step closer to being ready for the start of the season.”
Pearson takes the view that Preston will go into the new campaign with a stronger squad than they had last season.
When he came off against West Ham, summer buy Ryan Ledson replaced him in the centre of midfield and did a very good job.
Such options are in place in all areas of the squad, giving strength in depth.
“I don’t think we had this competition last season,” said Pearson.
“You look at the sides put out on Monday and in the West Ham game.
“Any of the lads could put on a shirt and play well in the Championship. It will be interesting to see how it pans out, I wouldn’t like to pick a team – everyone has staked a claim to play.
“We have two players for every position and if one drops out we shouldn’t really be weakened.
“Last year we had all those injuries in defence, which was unlucky but now we have two right-backs, two left-backs and four centre-halves.”
Pearson is looking forward to the new campaign which is 11 days away.
In general he was pleased with his own form last season and aims to improve on that.
Said Pearson: “Personally last season was okay for me and I think I have improved a every year.
"I got a few injuries last year which stalled me and got the suspensions which slowed me down a bit.
“This season I’ve got to find another gear to go into.
“A lot of the lads did well and we need eight, nine or 10 of them at the top of their game throughout the season.”