Paddy KO a huge blow for PNE

Paddy McCarthy is helped off the pitch by PNE physio Matt Jackson
Paddy McCarthy is helped off the pitch by PNE physio Matt Jackson
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Preston North End face an anxious wait for news on the extent of Paddy McCarthy’s knee injury which cut short his debut.

McCarthy, signed on loan from Crystal Palace, was hurt just nine minutes into PNE’s 3-1 defeat to Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough.

He jarred his right knee and medial ligament damage is suspected.

An initial analysis suggests McCarthy’s absence will be weeks rather than months but a full diagnosis will only be made after he has a scan back at parent club Palace.

North End manager Simon Grayson said: “It is a bit too early to know how long Paddy will be out.

“He will be assessed fully over the next few days and we will see how things settle down.

“Hopefully it is not too severe because we have brought Paddy in as a leader – he has lots of experience at Championship level.

“What happened was that he has gone in with one of their lads and jarred his foot and knee at the same time.

“It was something quite innocuous and we are just hoping to have him back sooner rather than later.”

PNE did a deal with Palace to sign McCarthy on a 93-day loan after suspension and injury left them short in the centre of defence.

Bailey Wright was banned after his red card against Wolves and Paul Huntington pulled out of training late last week with a recurrence of a hamstring injury.

Calum Woods, who moved to centre-half when McCarthy went off, was himself carrying a calf niggle. Said Grayson: “Hunts dropped out of training on Thursday, Bailey was suspended, then Calum pulled out of training on Friday and was 50/50 overnight.

“We were really down to the bare bones so bringing in Paddy was a big boost.

“The international break gives us two weeks to get some players available.

“Bailey will be back after his ban and I would expect Hunts to be right by then.”

The break in the fixture list gives North End a chance to re-group after a difficult few weeks in terms of results, the loss to the Owls stretching their run without a win in the league to eight matches.

Grayson felt his side were the authors of their own downfall in South Yorkshire, all three Wednesday goals avoidable.

“We shot ourselves in the foot with their goals – you could put all three down to mistakes,” said Grayson.

“Calum let the ball bounce for the first, that was his only mistake all day, otherwise I thought he was terrific.

“The ball should have cleared for the second goal instead of John Welsh trying to keep it in play.

“Even the third, we should have dealt with it better.

“Jordan Pickford went 
up for our corner and then had to dash back when it was cleared.

“It might have been better to send Calum Woods up with Jordan staying back.

“We were the authors of our own downfall.”