PNE defender plays through pain barrier

Jack King tackles Oldham Athletic's Danny Philliskirk
Jack King tackles Oldham Athletic's Danny Philliskirk
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Jack King says he is managing to beat the pain of a damaged foot to help Preston North End maintain their promotion push in the upper reaches of League One.

The defender returned to the starting XI on Saturday to play a key role in North End’s 3-1 victory against Oldham at Boundary Park.

King put in a strong display at the heart of the defence in place of Bailey Wright, who was out injured.

The 28-year-old also had a hand in PNE’s opening goal, his pass out from the back starting the move.

He is still nursing the foot injury which first arose just before the start of the season and required surgery.

King said: “The foot feels okay at the moment.

“Before the weekend I had been out of the team for the last couple of weeks which gave the foot a nice little rest.

“I rolled it a little bit in the first half which made it a bit sore but I was fine to carry on.

“It is a case of taking the painkillers and getting through the games.

“The main thing is that the injury isn’t getting any worse.”

North End started well in the derby fixture, taking a fifth-minute lead.

King’s ball forward was picked up by Chris Humphrey who cut inside from the wing and let fly with a shot which struck Keith Keane on the way into the net.

The scoreline stayed that way until the 71st minute when Humphrey’s run and cross set up Joe Garner for a simple tap-in.

Oldham halved the deficit with a fine volley from on-loan winger Gary Harkins.

But after Garner had seen a penalty saved by keeper Mark Oxley, he was not to be denied a second time, rounding off the scoring with a shot which went in off both posts.

So who is claiming the first goal?

Said King: “I think they both want it! Chris put in a superb performance and it would have been nice for him to get the goal.

“But I think it went in off Keano’s knee, so probably it is his goal.

“It doesn’t really matter who scores the goals – we are together as a team and it is winning which counts.”