Neil must do some forward thinking for Bolton clash
Preston boss Alex Neil has an attacking quandary to ponder over during the international break after Jordan Hugill was hit with a suspension.
The striker is ruled out of the clash with Bolton a week on Friday after collecting a fifth yellow card in the defeat at Ipswich.
With natural replacement Sean Maguire going under the knife to repair serious damage to his hamstring, Neil will have to be creative up front.
Hugill was booked against Ipswich for a first-half foul on Aaron Webster, one in which he which he dragged the defender to the floor.
Referee Andrew Madley had warned him a couple of times about indiscretions and produced the yellow card.
He had been previously been booked against Wolves, Birmingham, Barnsley and Sheffield Wednesday. Neil said: “That was his fifth booking and that is not helping us.
“We had eight players who were missing through injury at Ipswich and Darnell Fisher going off made it nine.
“An already smallish squad is getting stretched right to the limit.
“Tom Stead from the youth team travelled with us down to Ipswich and the likelihood is he will be involved again.”
Stephy Mavididi could be the front man to benefit from the loss of Hugill and Maguire.
The 19-year-old, who is on a season’s loan from Arsenal, has in the main operated out wide in eight appearances for North End.
He did play up front next to Hugill at Wolves when North End switched to a 4-4-2 when chasing the game.
But Mavididi has not led the line in the 4-2-3-1 system which Neil favours.
Mavididi is due to join-up soon with England Under-20s for next week’s friendly with Germany in Zwickau.
Other options open to Neil are to use Tom Barkhuizen or Callum Robinson up front.
Both played up front last season in a 4-4-2, Robinson scoring 11 goals.
Hugill is the third Preston player to be suspended for reaching five bookings this season.
Darnell Fisher missed last month’s 2-2 draw at Fulham, while Paul Huntington was forced to sit out the defeat to Aston Villa.
Daniel Johnson and Ben Pearson are on four cautions at the moment, with the FA’s amnesty for five cards being November 30.
PNE’s Deepdale meeting with Bolton is followed by two away games at Bristol City and Neil’s former club Norwich.
Tickets for the Norwich clash on November 25 went on sale yesterday, priced £25 adults, £15 seniors, £10 Under-18s and £5 Under-12s.
Preston have been given 896 tickets for Carrow Road and the game is all-ticket, with no sales on the day.