PNE boosted by defender’s return

Scott Wiseman is close to fitness after a knee injury
Scott Wiseman is close to fitness after a knee injury
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Preston North End could have Scott Wiseman back in action for this Saturday’s meeting with Carlisle United at Deepdale.

It was initially feared that the right-back had suffered a serious knee injury when he limped out of PNE’s 3-1 victory over Peterborough a fortnight ago.

But a scan ruled out any significant damage and Simon Grayson is hopeful of being able to call on the Gibraltar international’s services for the weekend.

North End manager Grayson told the Evening Post: “You never know just how serious injuries can turn out to be.

“Scott jarred his knee in an innocuous-looking challenge.

“But with the knee being a complicated structure, we have seen innocuous incidents leading to players being out for a long time.

“You look at Sam Vokes at Burnley, who is going to be out for a few months after he damaged knee ligaments.

“At the back of our minds we did worry about Scott’s injury being something like that.

“But thankfully the scan gave us some good news and maybe we will have him back for the Carlisle game.

“Scott’s knee was just jarred and there was some bruising to the bone.

“If we could get him back for the weekend that would be good news because he has done very well since joining us.

“He goes about his job with no fuss and has been a very good addition.”

Wiseman, 28, has played at right-back and also on the right-hand side of a three-man defence since his January switch from Barnsley.

Before the injury he had linked up well with Chris Humphrey down the right.

Keith Keane covered for Wiseman in the right-back role for the remainder of the Peterborough game and the victory over Crawley.

At Bristol City on Saturday, Preston went with Humphrey in a wing-back role.

A quicker-than-expected return for Wiseman should allow him to get fully up to speed in time for the play-offs – unless of course PNE manage to gate-crash the top two.

With one eye on the season going into extra-time, Grayson has been taking the opportunity to give certain players a break.

Bailey Wright was rested for the Crawley game, while Paul Gallagher got no further than the bench at Bristol City.

With Gallagher not on the pitch, Grayson gave Lee Holmes a try-out in the hole between midfield and attack.

It was Holmes’ second start on the bounce, having returned to the side against Crawley on the right wing.

Grayson said: “I thought that Lee affected the game well in the first half. Perhaps in the second half we didn’t utilise him quite as much.

“When you play someone in that hole position, you have to make use of them as much as possible.

“In the first half, Lee was a threat. He got on the half turn and was running at people – he caused them a lot of problems.

“After half-time we didn’t pass the ball as well and so we couldn’t get him into the game as much.

“Later on we went for a change and put Josh Brownhill in there.”