Former Blackpool defender Alex Baptiste has praised Gary Bowyer for the vital role he played in his recovery from a broken leg.
The 30-year-old, who is currently at Preston on a season-long loan from Middlesbrough, suffered the double leg break in 2015.
It happened in a pre-season friendly just five days after the centre-back had joined the Teessiders from Bolton.
The subsequent 12 months proved tough, and after being forced to abandon a house move he returned to his home in Blackpool.
There he spent the early stages of his recovery marooned on a sofa 130 miles from Middlesbrough.
It was then Bowyer, who Baptiste played under at Blackburn, offered to help.
Speaking to The League Paper, Baptiste said: “At Boro, I knew nobody. At Blackburn, I already knew all the lads, the physios and the staff. To be in an environment like that was just what I needed.
“Just to let me in the building, when I played for another club, was an unbelievable gesture and I can’t thank Gary enough for sorting it out.”
Baptiste, part of the Blackpool side that won a memorable promotion to the Premier League in 2010, admits it was heart-breaking seeing Boro win promotion without him.
The leg break came as a result of a tackle at York City.
“I don’t actually remember what happened,” Baptiste said. “I know it wasn’t a bad tackle, just a freak accident. People always ask me if I’ve watched it again but I haven’t and I don’t plan to, either.
“It was bad enough at the time, looking down and seeing your leg at a different angle.”