Graham Westley has explained that David Buchanan’s absence from the Preston North End’s team is a form issue.
The former Tranmere defender looked set to be the long-term replacement for broken-leg victim Scott Laird but he was dropped after just one game – the defeat at Leyton Orient a fortnight ago.
Shane Cansdell-Sherriff filled the left-back role against Gillingham in the FA Cup last week and would have done so at Bury in midweek had the JPT tie not fallen foul to a waterlogged pitch.
It’s likely that he will get the nod again for today’s league meeting with Crewe Alexandra at Deepdale (3pm).
Westley said: “David came in and went out of the side which speaks for itself.
“Every player in the squad is dealt with by a fair hand and honest view.
“David has to respond to the fact he’s come out of the team.
“When he comes back into the side he has to make sure he puts in performances which don’t allow me to leave him out so quickly.”
North End boss Westley was content with what he saw of Cansdell-Sherriff and Chelsea loanee Todd Kane in the full-back positions against Gillingham.
With Laird and Keith Keane both long-term casualties, the right-back and left-back slots have been put under a great deal of scrutiny by Westley.
He said: “Last weekend, Shane and Todd performed very well.
“Shane gives us stability in the way Keane did, and Todd provides the thrust of Laird.
“Although we have swapped the sides round where our thrust comes from, we’ve managed to retain it.
“Todd has got massive quality and Shane is a dependable character who has won plenty of matches for us already this season.
“On the right side, I think Todd and Lee Holmes will be a good combination. With Holmes coming inside naturally and Todd going on the outside, I wouldn’t like to be a full-back playing against those two.”
Meanwhile, Westley has revealed that North End’s preparations for Crewe’s visit today started ‘within five minutes’ of the Bury game being called-off.
Rather than give the squad the night off, he hired out an indoor pitch next to Manchester’s Trafford Centre so they could go through their paces.
“Our week was set up to do a certain amount of work and that included playing the game on Tuesday,” said Westley.
“By hook and by crook we did the work anyway.
“We didn’t get the chance to play but we got a pitch sorted out and did the fitness work and the team work necessary.
“Within five minutes of the Bury match being called-off we were finding a venue to train and thinking about Crewe.
“The lads weren’t thinking of a night off, they expected to train.
“I’ll pick a different side against Crewe to the one I picked the other night.
“This is an important time for us, this time of year is when my teams typically make their move.
“Whatever we have done up until now is all about putting a platform in place.
“At this point, bank some back-to-back wins and the whole complexion of your season changes. This is when the tough get going, where men stand up and be counted.”