Many Preston fans are excited by Billy Bodin, and for good reason.
The Welshman is one of the more exciting players in the Preston squad. He’s incredibly skilful, he can produce a moment of magic and he’s never afraid to take on a man.
We’ve seen that magic before; his pre-season goal against West Ham United in 2018, his superb strike against Nottingham Forest this season, his man of the match display against Norwich City in the FA Cup in January.
Sometimes, it’s great being left wanting more. Yet when it comes to Bodin, it’s somewhat frustrating that these moments or performances come so far apart.
His year-long absence with a knee injury suffered in August 2019 was of course a factor, but he missed two months of the season between September and November, and now hasn’t played since January.
Alex Neil recently confirmed that Bodin may have to undergo surgery due to a piece of floating bone after an Achilles problem. It’s unclear whether Bodin will play again this season, though the delay due to COVID-19 may actually help his cause.
Bodin’s absence leaves Preston somewhat unable to play Tom Barkhuizen down the middle of the attack, with few other natural options out on the right flank.
The big problem is that Bodin will once again be a contract conundrum. Back in October, Bodin added another year onto his deal, meaning his deal now expires in 2021 – and that he is again entering the final year of his deal soon.
That leaves Preston with the same decision. Bodin’s flashes have been impressive, but they’re still just flashes more than two years into his Preston career. There hasn’t been the consistency North End need, and the injuries are certainly holding him back.
Bodin turns 28 next week, so we can’t even put it down to fulfilling his potential. North End really need to see Bodin fit and firing for a lengthier period of time than we’ve seen so far in order to give him a long-term deal – even if he really can get fans off their seats.