Knee ligament damage for Josh Earl and Calum Woods deepens Preston's injury crisis

Alan Browne filled in at centre back in the second half.
Alan Browne filled in at centre back in the second half.

Alex Neil has revealed that Josh Earl and Calum Woods are set for,spells on the sidelines as Preston’s injury crisis deepened in their defeat to Aston Villa.

Both damaged medial knee ligaments in the 2-0 reverse at Deepdale meaning the PNEs boss is now without seven players who could feature in his backline.

Tom Clarke, Greg Cunningham, Ben Davies, Tommy Spurr and Marnick Vermijl are also out at the moment while Paul Huntington served a one-match ban on Tuesday night.

“Both lads tonight are medial ligaments and there’s nothing you can do about it,” said Neil.

“It’s a block tackle with Calum on the edge of the box and Josh plants his foot and goes to twist and twists his knee.

“They’re being assessed and will get scanned tomorrow.

“Just looking at it at the moment I think Calum Woods is in a worse situation than Josh Earl is.

“Both of them looked like they’ve opened up their medial ligament and the severity of that will determine how long they’re out for.”

As for the game itself, two first-half goals hurt PNE in a poor first-half performance before Earl and Woods were replaced at the break.

James Chester headed home a corner before Josh Onomah pounced on a poor Ben Pearson pass to feed Robert Snodgrass for the second.

“The two goals early in the game meant we didn’t give ourselves any opportunity to get anything from the match,” Neil said.

“We concede from a set play and then it looks like we should have had a definite penalty.

“Goals change games and if we get the next goal and it goes one each then we’re back in it, we’ll get a lift from it.

“But the second goal is a sloppy pass inside from Ben, I don’t think he’s looked and Andy’s caught on his heels a little bit and it’s 2-0.

“From that point against an experienced team we found it difficult to break them down.”