PNE star close to full fitness

Andy Little
Andy Little
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Simon Grayson is hoping that Andy Little will the next name to be scrubbed off Preston North End’s steadily reducing injury list.

The striker has not seen action since pulling up with a hamstring strain in the Walsall defeat on September 13.

But after suffering a setback in training during his recovery, there is light at the end of the tunnel for the summer signing from Glasgow Rangers,.

PNE boss Grayson told the Evening Post: “The original injury was his hamstring which he recovered from.

“Then when he was coming back in training he tweaked a calf muscle, so that is why we have lost him for a little bit longer than we expected.

“Andy is making progress and is one who we would like to have back sooner rather than later.

“We have had quite a few injuries in recent weeks but are steadily getting people back.

“It was just a couple of weeks ago that we were down to the bare bones of 18 players available. Now we have around 22 available for this weekend which is a good number to have.”

Little, 25, is still to get going properly at Deepdale since joining PNE on a Bosman.

He has played seven games to date, scoring in the Capital One Cup against today’s league opponents Rochdale and in the 1-1 draw with Sheffield United.

When fit, the Northern Ireland international will give Grayson another option up front or in wide areas.

Elsewhere on the casualty front, Calum Woods resumed training this week after a month out with a strained hamstring.

Scott Wiseman and Tom Clarke both resumed action at Leyton Orient on Tuesday, although Clarke was held back on the bench until the last 20 minutes, a stomach virus having laid him low for two matches.

Grayson said: “Tom was not 100% right so we decided to have him on the bench rather than put him in from the start.

“There was no need to throw him straight in because of how well Paul Huntington and Jack King had done.

“Tom has had a better few days in terms of getting some food down him after the virus.”

One player who Grayson will have to do without for a few weeks longer is Bailey Wright, the defender having had surgery on Tuesday to clear up a groin injury.

While PNE had been hoping that a period of rest might do the trick, they were advised by a specialist that an operation was the best option.

“We got to the point where we decided that something needed to be done for the long term,” said Grayson.

“It was an injury he picked up with Australia at the World Cup and he battled on with.

“At times Bailey wasn’t doing himself justice with his performance.

“He will out for a few weeks rather than months, it was a tidy-up of the groin area.

“We could have kept him ticking over at 80% but somewhere down the line it was going to cause a problem.”

Meanwhile, PNE left-back Nick Anderton has joined Conference side Gateshead on a month’s loan and was due to make his debut today against Aldershot.