Former Preston North End winger Billy Bodin loved his time in Lancashire but found the final year with the Lilywhites a very frustrating one.

A player who promised so much when he first arrived, the ex-Bristol Rovers man was ruled out of the entire 2018/19 campaign through injury and never quite recovered.

There was no doubting Bodin's natural talent as a footballer but luck never seemed to be on his side and this summer saw him depart upon the expiry of his contract.

The Wales international played 44 times for North End, scoring four goals.

Now of Oxford United, who are going well in League One under Karl Robinson, Bodin has appeared on the From the Finney podcast to look back on his time at Deepdale.

In a two-part episode the 29-year-old talked signing for PNE, missing out on the play-offs, team-mates, challenges and highlights.

And he of course touched on his exit six months ago, which was one he felt could've been handled a lot better.

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"I was fit from the end of January and wasn't really getting any game time," said Bodin. "They always used to say I was one of the most creative players but needed to get me fit and firing again. You almost walk out of the room baffled because if I am one of the most creative players, surely I should be on the pitch, whether I could last 90 minutes or not.

"That was one thing that always annoyed me a bit, from the first week he would always say I wasn't fit enough or I didn't run enough - I had never had a problem with that wherever I'd been. When I was on the pitch I always felt good and it always seemed I'd get dragged off around 60 minutes and that is when the game would open up and you'd get more of the ball or more space.

"The last year and a bit was frustrating for me. When Frankie took over, part of me thought I'd get a chance because he knew what I could do and he has seen me train. After a few days he told everyone the formation he wanted to play - a diamond - which didn't suit me but I thought I could play as one of the two strikers, even though Ched was on fire at the time.

"I came on for around ten minutes when we were four-nil down against Brentford. There was talk of me going on loan in January but the manager said I was in his plans for when I got back fit. That is what you want to hear.

"From the end of January, in my head I was thinking maybe 10 games to earn a new contract, which is obviously what I wanted. I trained every day from the first week of February; it was either not having me as a player or I didn't fit for the formation really.

"I was going in asking why I wasn't coming on, to all of a sudden why I wasn't making the bench. It was tough but when someone isn't being honest it is a lot harder to take because you still think you have a chance and are working hard in training. I remember days where I'd train really well and then we'd do a bit of shape work and I'd be at left back - I am then thinking it is clear I'm not really wanted here.

"I was going in every week for the last month. Obviously players aren't stupid and I knew it was highly unlikely I'd be getting a new contract, so I could see the writing was on the wall. I wanted to know for sure what was going on, just to prepare for the future. Me and Moulty were going in, we weren't in the squad, just give us an answer and Frankie never really gave us a definite answer.

"He was only caretaker but I am sure he would've known a yes or no for us - we would've liked to have been told a bit earlier than literally the last day of the season. We both wanted to stay at the club, whether we got rubbish contracts or whatever, we had been there three-and-a-half years. It wasn't handled very well in my eyes and I am sure Moulty would say the same."

Director Peter Ridsdale recently explained to the media that March was the right time for Alex Neil and the club to part ways due to a drop in enthusiasm and drive.

Bodin did not disagree with that sentiment, despite his admiration for Neil as a coach and praise for his meticulous preparation and high standards.

"For me, you have always just got to listen to whatever the manager says regardless of what he is thinking or how he is acting," he added. "But it definitely felt like he'd sort of had enough and was fed-up with what was going on on the pitch and off the pitch.

"It was probably a combined few things that (meant) it got to that stage but yeah - some people might say different but the majority would probably say the same to be honest.

"We weren't performing anywhere near as good as we should've which was probably p------ him off and so it comes to a stage where it is almost 'enough is enough'.

"A lot of the lads probably saw it coming but the lads who had been there a fair few years probably didn't think he would leave. I was there six months after he signed so even I didn't really think he would.

"Even though a lot of people probably thought it was time for a change, at the same time I never thought it would happen. Like I say there were a few things that had led to him having enough."

You can listen to the full two-part episode with Billy Bodin here.

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