Hume set to return for PNE

Back in the fold: Iain Hume's hamstring agony is over and he's back in the PNE squad this weekend
Back in the fold: Iain Hume's hamstring agony is over and he's back in the PNE squad this weekend
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Iain Hume looks set to be included in the Preston North End squad for the first time in 2012 when Walsall visit Deepdale tomorrow.

The Canadian striker has been sidelined since tearing his hamstring during the New Year’s Eve defeat to Sheffield Wednesday.

But he’s approaching the end of his second week back in full training and should be available to Graham Westley for the first time.

Paul Coutts is also back in contention after serving a two-match suspension.

And Westley’s selection options could be further boosted by a return for Jamie Proctor.

The young striker has been undergoing a gruelling treatment programme at Lilleshall in a bid to fully recover from the hernia operation he had earlier in the campaign.

Returns for the trio would be timely as North End go in search of extra creativity to build on the more solid defensive foundations which have been put in place recently.

Westley said: “Paul Coutts is one of the bonuses this week with him being available.

“Humey has been back training for the last week to 10 days and steadily progressing.

“I’m sure he could be in contention to be in the 16 if not the starting XI tomorrow.

“When you have a look at what Humey has been through, he had a nasty knee ligament injury and that was followed up with a hamstring strain.

“Could he have done a little bit more with his strength and flex work before he came back the first time around? Possibly so.

“Was he rushed back? I don’t know that , you’ll have to ask the player that. As for Jamie Proctor, we’ve sent one or two away over the last couple of weeks to the FA rehabilitation centre at Lilleshall.

“Jamie was one of them and they’ve done some intensive work there.

“The reports we’ve had back from Lilleshall suggest that he has been doing very well and will be back to train today and be available for selection tomorrow.”

Coutts’ absence has been a drawn-out one, with the midfielder having been hit with a two-match ban for reaching 10 yellow cards.

With PNE having had two games postponed earlier in the month, the suspension only kicked-in against Hartlepool and Sheffield United.

Westley is looking forward to being back in front of the home faithful tomorrow.

He said: “What I expect from us is to build on what we have done recently.

“We got a good victory against Hartlepool the last time we were at home.

“I loved that feeling of the goal going in – Danny Mayor’s shot hitting the back of the net and then hearing the Deepdale roar.

“That’s what I want more of, and I’m sure the lads do too.

“I want the opposition knowing that this is not an easy place to come, and I want my players to enjoy their football here.

“Recently I’ve sensed a growing desire and hunger from the players.”

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