Darnell Fisher’s latest caution leaves Preston North End boss Alex Neil with another hole to fill

Alex Neil says he will ‘deal with’ yet another enforced change at right-back for Preston’s next two games.

By Dave Seddon
Tuesday, 17th December 2019, 6:00 am
Preston right-back Darnell Fisher is suspended for the next two matches
Preston right-back Darnell Fisher is suspended for the next two matches

Darnell Fisher getting a 10th yellow card of the season in the 2-1 victory over Luton rules him out of the trips to Cardiff and Leeds.

Fisher had only returned to the side against the Hatters after missing four matches through injury, hence there being a sense of frustration over the forthcoming absence.

North End manager Neil said: “We will deal with it like we have done with every injury and suspension we’ve had this season.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

“I have had quite a few players out over the last few weeks, so for us to be in the position we are in shows how well we are doing.”

Fisher’s latest yellow was avoidable, coming in the 67th minute shortly after Luton winger Kazenga Lualua had been cautioned for an act of simulation.

The PNE defender appeared to get involved in a dispute with staff on the Luton bench and was shown a yellow card by referee Gavin Ward.

Neil said: “I’m disappointed when he picks up any booking apart from if it is for making a tackle.

“I didn’t really see what happened. I saw him and the lad on the side get involved.

“He tends to get involved in a lot of things like that which he shouldn’t.”

Fisher is the second player in the Championship to reach 10 yellow cards this season.

Sheffield Wednesday’s Sam Hutchinson beat him to it, the Owls midfielder hitting double figures last week.

Fisher had served a one-match ban for five bookings in October, missing the 5-1 win over Barnsley.

The 25-year-old’s latest set of five yellow cards have come in just seven appearances.

Joe Rafferty still has two games of a three-match ban remaining for his red card against Fulham a week ago.

It is likely that skipper Tom Clarke will fill the right-back slot at Cardiff on Saturday lunchtime – he scored a late winner in North End’s last visit to the Bluebirds’ home two years ago.

Right-back has emerged as problem position for Neil this season in terms of chopping and changing.

Five players have featured there already – Clarke, Fisher, Rafferty, Alan Browne and Ryan Ledson.

Fisher’s ban means it is a case of one step forward, one back, in terms of numbers.

PNE got Paul Gallagher back for the Luton game after the midfielder had missed three matches with a painful Achilles tendon.

Updating the progress of Daniel Johnson and Ben Davies in their fitness bids, Neil said: “DJ wasn’t particularly close but Ben was touch and go for Luton so he won’t be far away.”