Pre-season return is Preston North End defender Patrick Bauer's target date
A pre-season return is the target for Preston North End defender Patrick Bauer after an Achilles tendon injury.
The German centre-half tore his Achilles at the start of December and is progressing well with rehabilitation work after surgery.
This week he had a visit to the surgeon in London to check on his recovery and the news from that was positive.
North End manager Alex Neil said the timescale for such an injury tends to be between six and nine months out.
It is obviously hoped the recovery can be nearer the shorter of those two dates which would allow him to start pre-season training in the summer.
Neil said: “The aim is to have him back for pre-season.
“How Pat reacts to the work he is doing between now and then will determine whether he is ready for then or not.
“Getting him back ready for pre-season is our hope and we’ll wait and see.
“With it being a long-term injury it is difficult to put a handle on exactly when Pat will be back.
“With an injury like this it ranges from six to nine months, so the three months’ difference is a big gap.”
North End have missed Bauer’s presence at the back during a season when they have had to frequently make defensive changes.
Last season, Bauer and Ben Davies was Neil’s go-to pairing at the heart of the defence.
Bauer has now missed more than three months of football, with Davies sold to Liverpool on February 1.
Paul Huntington, Jordan Storey, Liam Lindsay and Andrew Hughes have been called upon at the back.
Neil said: “Pat was a key header of the ball, he was number one in our team for headed clearances and I think fourth or fifth in the division for headers out of our box.
“He’s been a massive loss for us, so too his partner (Davies) back there.
“We know the loss we have suffered but we also know that injuries are part and parcel of football.”
Huntington and Storey were teamed up for last week’s 1-1 draw with Bournemouth, with Hughes and Lindsay both sidelined by injury.
Whether either of them will be fit for Saturday’s trip to Wycombe, remains to be seen.
Hughes has a shoulder issue but the nature of Lindsay’s injury has never been detailed by Neil, except to say he had ‘broken down’ after playing four games in a row after joining from Stoke.
Thanks for reading. If you value what we do and are able to support us, a digital subscription is just £1 per month for the first two months. Try us today by clicking here