Preston North End player column: Louis Moult puts the 'dark days' of injury behind him as he returns to the PNE squad

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Being back on the bench for our game against Swansea on Easter Monday was exciting and a step in the right direction.

I was thankful to all the coaching staff for involving me in the squad because I wasn’t expecting it quite yet.

Last Saturday when we were in training after the Norwich game, Frankie McAvoy had a chat with me and asked me how I would feel about being involved at Swansea.

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Right away I said I was willing to be involved and appreciated that he was thinking of me in terms of the first-team squad.

Preston North End striker Louis MoultPreston North End striker Louis Moult
Preston North End striker Louis Moult

Travelling with the lads, being in the hotel the night before, doing the warm-up and then warming-up during the game, felt great.

The next step is to get some minutes under my belt but I understand I might have to be patient for that because of the situation we are in the moment.

What was ironic about being back in the squad at Swansea, was that it was at the Liberty Stadium where I suffered my injury in 2019.

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I suppose I saw it as being a blessing in disguise, I’ve got my first visit back there out of the way and that won’t be something playing on my mind going forward.

It’s 19 months since I got injured which is a long time.

There have been dark days along the way and I’ll admit there were times when I thought, ‘Will I come back from this’?

It was a bad injury to start with, damaging the anterior cruciate ligament.

Then there were the setbacks I had. Just as I was feeling positive about the ACL, I had a problem with the meniscus which needed trimming off. That was an operation that got delayed in the first lockdown because the surgeons were working instead – quite rightly – with Covid-19 patients.

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Then I had another procedure to deal with some scar tissue which had built up on my hamstring.

So there’s been a lot to deal with. I’m now in a much better place physically and mentally.

From a football point of view, I’ve been back training now four or five weeks.

To start with, training was non-contact but in week two it was full contact.

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That was a little bit scary to begin with but I was fine once I’d got a few nudges and people had put a tackle in.

Every training session I do now is about going through those movements which you do on a football pitch.

During the international break we had a bounce game within the squad and I got 60 minutes.

While I’ve been out, the Preston fans have been very supportive of me.

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A lot of them contacted me on Twitter to ask me how I was and to offer their support.

Sometimes it was difficult to answer them all because of what stage the injury was at but I appreciated all the support they gave me.

A word for my family here, my wife and two girls have been superb through all this.

Without their love and support, I don’t know how I would have got through it.

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I did struggle at times but they were always there for me, kept me feeling positive.

We got a puppy during my time out injured and there’s nothing better than getting out in the fresh air to take it for a walk – it really lifts your spirits.

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