PNE boss playing numbers game
Simon Grayson hopes to get the numbers in the Preston North End squad back up for Saturday's visit of MK Dons to Deepdale.
The Lilywhites were short of four players for the 1-0 defeat at Middlesbrough.
Tom Clarke, Calum Woods and Jordan Hugill missed out because of injury, while Adam Reach was ineligible to face parent club Boro.
Reach is available again and the injured trio will be given every opportunity to prove their fitness.
Skipper Clarke suffered a bang on the head against Fulham a week ago, with a calf strain forcing Woods off soon after that.
Hugill damaged his ankle later in the same game to add to the casualty list.
North End boss Grayson said: “Tom Clarke couldn’t play at the weekend because of concussion.
“He had some time off after the Fulham game to help him recover and he will be assessed this week.
“Hopefully Tom will be okay and we can get him back.
“Calum could be back for this weekend – again it will be a case of seeing how he is as the week goes on.
“Jordan rolled his ankle against Fulham and was never going to be fit for Middlesbrough.
“With Adam Reach not able to play, we were well down on numbers as we have chosen not to carry the biggest squad.
“It was disappointing that we couldn’t fill the bench and only had six substitutes.
“I could have taken one of the kids up to fill the bench but they have not deserved to be in and around the squad. I was pleased with the lads who came into the side after not having much involvement in recent weeks.
“They have kept themselves fit and ready for when their chance came.
“Eoin Doyle did well up front, that was his first start for a while.
“We brought Callum Robinson back in, then John Welsh and Jermaine Beckford came on in the second half.”
Although it is a wait-and-see job with Clarke, Woods and Hugill for Saturday, Reach definitely returns.
Grayson admitted over the weekend that he would like to bring the winger back to Deepdale next season.
Reach has been impressive in his seven months on loan from Boro, with the PNE boss a big fan of his versatility.
“Adam has been very good for us,” said Grayson.
“I was surprised that I could get him in the first place earlier in the season, given the number of games he had played for Middlesbrough.
“Aitor Karanka obviously thought that Adam would be better off getting game-time with us and we have enjoyed having him here.
“He has played on the wing, at left wing-back, on both sides of a front three and in the No.10 position.
“Adam is a good footballer, I like him and the lad has a lot going for him.
“What happens with him will be dictated by Middlesbrough and what they do over the next few games.”