Preston North End defender Patrick Bauer ready to start pre-season training after seven-month injury absence
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The German central defender signed off his rehab programme last week and will be part of Frankie McAvoy’s squad which gets down to work ahead of the 2021/22 season.
Bauer tore his Achilles tendon in the 3-2 victory at Bournemouth in December, just a few minutes after scoring PNE’s third goal of the evening.
As is often the case with injuries of that nature, it happened with no one else near him – the Achilles snapping as he pushed off to move towards the ball.
Thursday’s start date for pre-season training will be seven months to the day since he suffered the injury.
With his recovery time back in December having been put at between six and nine months, Bauer has got back in the shortest time.
The 28-year-old was on kit modelling duty last week and posted a photo of himself in PNE’s new shirt on Twitter.
Bauer wrote: “Last rehab session. Can’t wait for the pre-season to start.”
This will be Bauer’s third season at Deepdale, having signed on a Bosman in June 2019 after coming to the end of his contract at Charlton.
He is a big figure to bring back into the defence, a key option for head coach McAvoy as he pieces together a backline for the new campaign.
Jordan Storey, Liam Lindsay and Andrew Hughes formed the back three which finished last season.
Sepp van den Berg will press his claim for a place in the middle during pre-season after operating at right-back or wing-back in the second half of last season.
There is stalwart Paul Huntington too.
McAvoy wants options in defence and playing a back three ups the demand on numbers.
Until his injury, Bauer was a mainstay in the centre of defence. He has made 55 appearances for Preston – all starts – scoring five goals.
Midfielders Adam O’Reilly and Jack Baxter will be back in training with North End after their loan spells in the League of Ireland came to a conclusion last week.
The club is still waiting to hear whether Daniel Johnson will be away for pre-season.
He was named in a 60-man provisional Jamaica squad for the Gold Cup, a group which will be cut to 23 players.
The Gold Cup is being held in the United States in July.
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