Preston North End defender Patrick Bauer closing in on return to fitness
Patrick Bauer is ready to take the final steps of his rehabilitation from a serious injury ahead of returning to the Preston North End squad next month.
The centre-half last kicked a ball on December 1 in the 3-2 win at Bournemouth.
He scored PNE’s third goal that night but just a few minutes later snapped his Achilles tendon.
Bauer had surgery to knit the tendon back together and it has been a careful road back to fitness since then.
His recovery was estimated at being between six and nine months and the six-month mark has just been reached.
So the German is nicely on schedule to get more work under his belt this month before starting pre-season training with the Lilywhites squad on July 1.
Bauer will continue to work with the PNE medical and fitness staff until being able to join up with the rest of the squad next month.
He posted on social media platform Instagram that after a short family holiday he was ready for a final push.
Bauer wrote: “I want to get back to work now for the last stage of my rehab.”
He has played 56 games for North End since signing two years ago from Charlton on a Bosman.
That move came a matter of weeks after Bauer had scored the Addicks winner in the League One play-off final against Sunderland.
Since his injury, North End’s defence has seen a number of changes.
Paul Huntington came in to partner Ben Davies at the back, a pairing used until the end of January when Davies was sold to Liverpool.
Jordan Storey and Liam Lindsay were then brought together in the middle, the centre of defence expanded to a back-three unit shortly after Frankie McAvoy replaced Alex Neil at the helm.
McAvoy put Andrew Hughes with Storey and Lindsay.
All being well, Bauer will come into the equation during pre-season, providing McAvoy with the option of another experienced defender.
The 28-year-old will of course need time to get up to full speed and sharpness.
Keeping Bauer company in the gym during the second half of last season was Declan Rudd, the goalkeeper having suffered a knee injury early in the new year.
That was a painful one, cartilage in his knee coming out of place and jamming in the back of his kneecap.
Rudd managed to get out on the training ground to do some goalkeeping work towards the end of the season.
He is likely to have Daniel Iversen for competition after the summer, PNE set to strike a loan deal with Leicester to bring the Dane back for a second spell.