Ben battling to be fit

Ben Pearson hopes to be fit for the trip to Bristol City

Ben Pearson hopes to be fit for the trip to Bristol City

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Preston will give midfield general Ben Pearson every chance to be fit for tomorrow’s visit to Bristol City.

Pearson got a kick on the top of his foot early in the second half of the 1-1 draw at Nottingham Forest.

North End were leading at the time and his departure was to coincide with Forest taking a grip on the game and forcing an equaliser.

“Ben couldn’t carry on after getting a kick on the foot and he was still sore yesterday, as you would expect,” PNE boss Simon Grayson told the Evening Post.

“We will give him every opportunity for the weekend but as we stand, he is a doubt.

“After he went off at Forest we did miss him, the midfield did not have the same balance.

“That is no reflection on the lads in there, it is just that we had to change things after doing so well in the first half.

“If Ben was to miss the game, we wouldl deal with it, as we do whenever a player is out injured.

“Knowing Ben, he will push himself as hard as possible to be involved.

“After tomorrow, we have got a nine-day gap before playing Leeds on Boxing Day to get any injuries cleared up.”

PNE had Aiden McGeady back against Forest after a groin strain.

He was only fit enough to be on the bench, though, and did not see any action.

Said Grayson: “It was good to have Geads back although he wasn’t fit to start.

“He had yesterday and today to do some more work so is an option for the weekend.

“Paul Gallagher is closer but with muscular injuries like the one he has got, we have got to be careful.

“It is two down and one game to go in terms of the suspensions for Jermaine Beckford and Eoin Doyle.

“There being a midweek game means the ban is over within a week.”

It is Grayson’s 47th birthday today and three points at Ashton Gate would be the perfect late present.

Tomorrow’s hosts City have lost eight of their last 11 league games but Grayson has every respect for them.

“We know a lot about them – we were promoted in the same season and have played them a lot in recent seasons,” said Grayson.

“Bristol City started the season well but results recently haven’t gone the way they would have hoped.

“I watched them against Brentford on Tuesday night and they were unlucky to lose.

“Tammy Abraham is a talent up front, while Lee Tomlin can be a big threat.

“We have got a decent record at their place and hopefully that can continue.

“This week we have put in two good performances and we now want a third.

“In the first half at Forest, we dominated the game from an attacking point of view and were solid defensively.

“What was frustrating was that we only went in at 
half-time 1-0 up.

“Had we got another goal, it would have been difficult for Forest to come back.”