Alex Neil waiting on defensive casualties ahead of Preston North End’s TV date with WBA
Alex Neil will have more idea over the weekend how many of his walking wounded will be available for Preston’s clash with leaders West Bromwich Albion on Monday.
Injuries in defence came back to haunt PNE at Hull City on Wednesday night as they went down to a 4-0 defeat, the heaviest loss of Neil’s reign.
Ben Davies and Darnell Fisher sat out the clash at the KCOM Stadium, as did Alan Browne, who has played at times at right-back.
With Andrew Hughes and Tom Clarke already sidelined, Neil found himself light of numbers at the back and chose to play Ryan Ledson at right-back.
Later he moved Ledson to left-back and Daniel Johnson played the last 30 minutes there.
Neil said: “I’m not sure yet who might be available. We’ve spoken about this before – you can cope when players have been missing dotted around the team.
“You can change a player in one area and it doesn’t affect things, they slot in.
“It is when you get injuries in the same position – players next to each other – when it becomes hard.
“If you look at the defence which started the opening game of the season and the defence which played at Hull, one player was the same.
“We put lads in that area who tried to get the job done but unfortunately that wasn’t to be.”
Browne’s issue was with his hamstring, one he has been monitoring for a few weeks.
He played two matches for the Republic of Ireland in the international break, which might have caught up with him.
Fisher picked up a slight injury at Derby and was not right to play, Davies hurting his ankle in the same game.
Clarke has been missing since late August with a knee ligament injury, while Hughes suffered a fractured bone in his foot last month.
Despite all the injuries, Neil was very disappointed with how North End leaked goals at Hull.
“It was a sore one, I’ll admit that,” said Neil.
“Regardless of injuries to some players, I don’t expect my team to get beaten 4-0 by anybody.
“Naturally your pride is going to take a bit of a dent and it hurts.
“I’ve been here before, the players have too – we need to rally and go again.
“We have got a tough game on Monday and we need to be harder to beat, more willing to do the basics well.
“At Hull we weren’t poor in the first half, we had some good chances at times – we hit the post and had a couple of one-on-ones.
“After they scored, it was the manner in which we lost which was the biggest disappointment for me.”