PNE boss had midfield options

Option: Joel Byrom will be competing for a starting berth tomorrow
Option: Joel Byrom will be competing for a starting berth tomorrow
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Graham Westley says a well-stocked Preston North End midfield provides plenty of options to cover the loss of John Welsh for the FA Cup clash with Yeovil Town.

Welsh, who has been skippering the side in recent games, serves a one-match ban tomorrow after totting up five yellow cards.

Joel Byrom and Andy Procter are two candidates for the central vacancy, while Jack King could also drop back in there from the front line.

PNE boss Westley told the Evening Post: “John Welsh is suspended so the door opens for someone else.

“Two or three lads were banging on my door with their performances in a training ground game against Blackpool the other day.

“They put in a terrific performance and that is what I wanted to see.

“We have got plenty of competition in the centre of midfield when everyone is available.

“There’s Byrom, Procter, Welsh, Nicky Wroe, Jack King, John Mousinho.

“I’ve always thought that the centre of the park is a great recruitment zone.

“Most of the boys who play in there have the versatility to play in other positions which gives you good options.

“I’m sure that whoever comes in will be busting a gut to help us win the game and get into the next round of the competition.”

Westley took advantage of having no competitive fixture in midweek to work on the squad’s fitness levels.

There have been extra weights sessions, while the players who haven’t been starting recently got some much-needed match practice in the Blackpool friendly.

“We hammered the players to be fair,” said Westley.

“You have to pick your moments to drive them forward.

“Monday and Tuesday were really tough for the boys, but they had a rest day on Wednesday before coming back in yesterday.”

With some notable FA Cup wins under his belt at previous clubs Farnborough and Stevenage, Westley is keen to do likewise with North End.

He makes no secret of his love for the competition and believes a cup run can benefit league form.

Said Westley: “The FA Cup is special and you get some great opportunities.

“We are a club who can call ourselves cup winners.

“With that history behind us, it’s clear that the club loves this competition.

“Whoever you play in the FA Cup, you aren’t going to get an easy passage because everyone is fighting for a place in the next round.

“It’s Yeovil who we play tomorrow and they’ll be coming here wanting to win.

“The beauty from our point of view is that it is a home tie and they don’t call it home advantage for no reason.

“But just being at home won’t win us the game, what will do that is our efforts tomorrow afternoon.

“We are going to have to be towards the top of our game to make sure we go through to the next round.

“I don’t see us as being in the FA Cup just to make up the numbers.

“Bradford have shown what is possible in the League Cup –
they now have a home quarter-final tie against Arsenal.”

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