Preston will take a careful approach when it comes to defender Patrick Bauer's return

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Frankie McAvoy says Preston North End won’t overload with Patrick Bauer in training as he sharpens up after his long absence from the team.

The defender was able to start pre-season training with his team-mates last Thursday, a huge step forward after seven months out with a ruptured Achilles tendon.

PNE head coach McAvoy was delighted to see Bauer out on the Euxton pitches but as ever with any player coming back from a serious injury, will exercise caution with him.

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The same goes for keeper Declan Rudd who missed the second-half of last season with a knee injury.

Patrick BauerPatrick Bauer
Patrick Bauer

McAvoy told the Lancashire Post: “It’s been brilliant to see Patrick and to be fair he’s been looking good.

“After one of the sessions on the second day he looked a bit tired which you have to expect with the length of time he’s been out.

“We have to make sure we manage him properly, we can’t overload him straight away.

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“Don’t worry, we’ll get him up to speed because he’s a big part of things here.

“The injuries which Patrick and Declan had were horrendous, so to get them back is wonderful.

“Every credit to the physios and sports science guys who have worked so hard to get them back.”

Bauer was at Euxton for much of the summer doing the latter stages of his rehab programme.

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His last game was against Bournemouth on December 1, the German suffering the Achilles tendon damage in the last few minutes of a game in which he had scored.

The return of Bauer and some of the work in the summer transfer window will create strong competition at the back this season.

Jostling for a place with Bauer in the centre of defence will be Sepp van den Berg, Liam Lindsay, Jordan Storey, Andrew Hughes and Paul Huntington.

The signing of Matthew Olosunde to cover the right-back and wing-back positions will allow van den Berg to play a central role.

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McAvoy said: “We needed to make sure we had enough strength at the back and I think we’ve covered that well.

“Getting Liam and Sepp to come back was excellent, they were two lads who did well with us.

“Big Josh Earl has come back after being on loan and can play on that left side with Hughesy and Greg Cunningham.”

Meanwhile, PNE have confirmed that no away fans will be allowed to attend their friendlies in Scotland due to Government restrictions north of the border.

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They play St Johnstone next Tuesday and then Celtic a week on Saturday.

North End hope to live stream the games.

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