Op date set for PNE striker

Stevie May has been missing since November with a knee injury
Stevie May has been missing since November with a knee injury
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Injured Preston North End striker Stevie May is expected to go under the surgeon’s knife next week.

The Preston forward suffered a serious knee injury in the closing stages of the 1-1 draw with Fulham at Craven Cottage in November.

On as a 74th-minute substitute for Eoin Doyle, May went down in a crumpled heap after a firm – but fair – challenge from Cottagers’ defender Richard Stearman.

The 23-year ruptured ligaments but has had to wait for swelling around the knee to subside before undergoing an operation to repair the damage.

It could be that May will require three of the ligaments in his knee to be surgically repaired, although that is dependent on how they have healed since sustaining the injury.

Now walking without the aid of crutches, May – who arrived at Deepdale last year on a permanent deal from this weekend’s visitors Sheffield Wednesday – is still in a knee brace.

The brace is designed to help the posterior cruciate ligament heal naturally, before surgery to repair his anterior cruciate ligament.

North End boss Simon Grayson said: “Stevie has the operation next Tuesday.

“I think he flies down to London for that. He had a meeting with the surgeon last week and the surgeon is pleased with how he is progressing.”

Meanwhile, Grayson hailed his side’s adaptability after another terrific away win on Saturday against Wolves at Molineux. One of the big features of North End this season has been the many different formations utilised by the manager.

After earning a slightly fortunate 2-1 win at home to Huddersfield at Deepdale the previous week, North End switched back to a 3-5-2 formation for the trip to Wolves.

Paul Huntington came back into the defence after missing out against the Terriers, while loan man Adam Reach was given a free role behind main striker Joe Garner.

The three-man defensive formation with wing-backs is a system Grayson has used on many occasions during his three-year tenure at Deepdale.

“We played that a lot last season and have done so quite often this season,” said Grayson.

“We have a really flexible group here who will adapt to what we ask them to do. We made changes after getting a really good result at Derby, with one of the centre-backs being left out.

“No one complained, they just get on with it. The wing-backs are positioned really well.

“They are not too far forward but don’t go too far back.

“Both Calum Woods and Greg Cunningham are attacking full-backs but when they were needed to defend, they did that.

“The centre-halves rotated around well. But we might go to a different system against Wednesday this weekend.”

EIGHT-PAGE PNE v SHEFF WED PREVIEW only in Friday’s LEP