PNE hamstring trio close to returns
Jermaine Beckford and Marnick Vermijl will be in the frame for the second instalment of Preston North End's double header against Newcastle at the weekend.
There is a possibility that Aiden McGeady will be too, the Springfields treatment room beginning to empty as Simon Grayson’s selection options increase.
Beckford was back on the bench for Tuesday evening’s 6-0 hammering by the Magpies at St James’ Park after two months out with a damaged hamstring.
Had right-back Vermijl not been cup-tied, the Belgian would have joined him among the substitutes.
A pulled hamstring was his problem too, an injury that has also sidelined McGeady since the start of the month.
The on-loan Everton winger returned to training yesterday which may give him a chance of being involved on Saturday.
Beckford was an unused sub at Newcastle, Grayson deciding against pitching him in with the game getting beyond PNE.
Paul Gallagher and Tom Clarke instead came off the bench at half-time, with Daniel Johnson the third substitute used during the second half.
Grayson said: “We have been careful with these lads because they’ve had hamstring injuries which need some looking after.
“With Becks and Marnick, we have been able to give them four or five days extra training because we had been doing well and had not had to call on them straight away.
“Marnick would have been on the bench at Newcastle had he not been cup-tied and he’s available now for the weekend.
“The way the game went on Tuesday night, we didn’t get Becks on to the pitch.
“With going down to 10 men we had to make different changes and go with what we did, there wasn’t the chance to get him on.
“It is nice to have Becks available again because it’s been a couple of months.”
McGeady’s injury came much later than Beckford and Vermijl, with him pulling up late in the win over Aston Villa on October 1.
“Aiden started training again yesterday morning,” said Grayson.
“He is probably slightly ahead of schedule and that is encouraging.
“Before the injury he did extremely well for us, Aiden gives us pace and trickery, he knows how to win a game.”
The North End players were back at Springfields yesterday morning for a recovery session after the Newcastle defeat.
After a debrief on events on Tyneside, the attention turned to Saturday’s league meeting.
“We had a chat with the players, analysed things and then put that one to bed,” said Grayson.
“As a team we cannot dwell on what happened, we have to look forward to what is coming up next.
“We can’t get away from the fact that so far this month, we have taken 10 points from the 12 available, that is positive.
“There are things to learn from the other night.”