Preston left-back Andrew Hughes says he was stunned to have his season cut short by a damaged hamstring.
Hughes was injured in the 1-0 win against Birmingham before the international break in March and did not feature again.
What he thought was a slight strain from which he could return quickly, turned out to be a 22cm-long tear in the muscle.
The Welshman is on the road to recovery and by last week was running close to his full capacity.
Hughes told the Post: “I hadn’t been injured for a long time. I played 104 games in my two seasons at Peterborough before coming here.
“This season I had played 34 games then all of a sudden I got this injury.
“It was the first time I had done my hamstring and it was a bad one as it turned out.
“What happened was that I challenged for the ball with the Birmingham winger. I got there just before him and he tripped me when I was on the way down.
“There was discomfort in my hamstring but that was all I could feel.
“My thinking at the time was that the international break was coming up and I had two weeks to get myself fit for the Reading game.
“I went for a scan and the results came back which showed there was a 22cm tear down the muscle.
“That was that, my season over, which was disappointing to say the least.
“The positive thing now is that I’m running and feeling really good.
“I’m back running at 94 per cent, which is great.
“The physio and myself have sat down to go through a fitness programme for me to do over the summer.
“I’ll be able to get away for a holiday but when I’m back I’ll have a schedule to do.”
Hughes, 26, took his time to fully show the Preston fans what he was all about after last summer’s arrival.
From January onwards, though, his form was strong in the left-back shirt. He was certainly missed when injury struck, with Josh Earl and Darnell Fisher both used to fill the left-back role in his absence.
Said Hughes: “Overall, I think my first season here went really well.
“I started off okay, nothing more than that, but got better as the season went on.
“This was my first time in the Championship, a step up from League One.
“I had a new manager to adapt to, needed to get used to what he wanted and how he worked.
“As the season went on, I felt really comfortable with this level.
“So the injury was a real kick in the teeth just at a time when we were doing really well as a team.”
Meanwhile, Alan Browne, Callum Robinson and Sean Maguire have been named in the Republic of Ireland squad for a training camp later this month in Portugal.
The training camp in Qinta Do Lago starts on May 21 and will be used as preparation for the Euro 2020 qualifiers against Denmark and Gibraltar next month.