Preston North End defender Patrick Bauer is the running man as he recovers from Achilles tendon surgery

Preston North End defender Patrick Bauer took a number of steps in the right direction in his recovery from Achilles tendon surgery when he returned to the training pitch .

Monday, 29th March 2021, 12:31 pm
Updated Monday, 29th March 2021, 12:34 pm

The German stepped on to the grass at Euxton before the weekend to do some running work with PNE physio Matt Jackson.

His team-mates who were training on the adjoining pitch stopped their work to applaud Bauer, this a significant part of his recovery.

The fact the centre-half has been able to start running at this stage is hopefully an indicator that he will be fully fit to start pre-season training in July.

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Bauer was hurt in the last few minutes of North End’s 3-2 victory over Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium on December 1.

He snapped his Achilles tendon stretching for the ball with no one near him.

It was a season-ending injury and the aim was to get him back for pre-season and not see his absence extend into next season.

The recovery time for such an injury is between six and nine months.

Preston North End defender Patrick Bauer challenges Derby's Wayne Rooney

Bauer, 28, a Bosman capture in July 2019 after his contract at Charlton came to an end, has been sorely missed by PNE at the back.

With Ben Davies moving on to join Liverpool in the winter transfer window too, it has left a big hole in the defence.

Last season, the Bauer and Davies partnership was the main one used barring injury.

Earlier in this campaign, that pairing had only just been re-established when Bauer suffered his injury.

Patrick Bauer scores PNE's third goal in the win at Bournemouth

Before then, Davies had been out with an ankle injury for a number of matches.

So for much of the season it has been about mixing and matching at the back in the hope of finding a strong pairing.

In the game when he was injured, Bauer had scored PNE’s third goal on the night, sliding in at the far post to meet a low cross from Daniel Johnson.

Less than 20 minutes later, he was being carried off on a stretcher in obvious distress.

The treatment room at Euxton is steadily clearing of its long-term casualties.

Louis Moult is in his third week of full training after 18 months recovering from a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.

Whether he makes it back into the matchday squad by the end of the season remains to be seen.

Declan Rudd is doing rehab work after knee surgery and will be back in pre-season.

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