PNE’s Gall-ant battler ready for derby day

Preston midfielder Paul Gallagher has delayed hernia surgery again
Preston midfielder Paul Gallagher has delayed hernia surgery again
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Paul Gallagher has again delayed groin surgery and is available for Preston North End’s Gentry Day clash with Bolton.

The midfielder was due to have a hernia operation on Wednesday, one which had been postponed from January.

But with PNE still having an outside chance of making the play-offs, Gallagher is happy to soldier on.

North End manager Simon Grayson said: “He was booked in for Wednesday but after last weekend, we decided to keep him available.

“Gally wants to carry on, he is more than happy to delay the operation and see where that takes us.

“The idea had been to have it done this week, miss the next two games, then he would be back for the Blackburn game after the international break.

“However, we think the next two games are still important to where we want to finish.

“It is on hold, I’m not sure the surgeon is too pleased that we keep cancelling it – this is the second or third time – but we think it is the right thing.

“Gally is getting through the large part of games, the reason he came off the other night was not because of the injury.

“He came off so we could get Eoin Doyle some game-time and get an extra attacker on.”

Gallagher has played for much of the season with the groin injury, traced back to when he scored the winner at MK Dons in August.

Had he had the surgery as planned this week, it really would have left PNE short of numbers at Bolton tomorrow.

Joe Garner is suspended, while Alan Browne and Neil Kilkenny have been injured. Browne missed the midweek defeat at Nottingham Forest, with Kilkenny not available for the last two games.

Who takes Garner’s place is the big selection issue for tomorrow’s derby.

Jordan Hugill, Doyle and Callum Robinson are the options – it looks like a toss-up between Hugill and Doyle to partner Adam Reach if Grayson goes with a 3-5-2.

Robinson would come more into the equation should a 4-3-3 be used.

Said Grayson: “There is no pecking order as such with the strikers when it comes to who plays at Bolton.

“In the last few weeks when I have had made substitutions, Jordan has come on ahead of Doyle and sometimes Doyle has come on before Jordan.

“Callum has been coming on in wide positions or at No.10.

“We have different options available to us and what I go for depends on what suits us and what system we use as we try to win the game.

“With Joe’s situation, I’m absolutely flabbergasted at why he got booked at Forest.

“I thought it was a harsh one at the time and having watched it again, it has strengthened my opinion that Joe should not have been booked.”

North End will be backed by 4,300 fans tomorrow, their biggest Gentry Day following.

Said Grayson: “It was a good decision to make it more local and there will be a great atmosphere. Hopefully we can celebrate the day with a positive result.”