PNE striker’s Seasiders’ set-back

Andy Little injured his hamstring on his Blackpool debut
Andy Little injured his hamstring on his Blackpool debut
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Preston North End front man Andy Little might have to sit out a chunk of his loan spell at Blackpool after being injured on his Seasiders debut.

Little joined the League One strugglers last Tuesday until January 2.

But his debut at Southend came to an abrupt halt after 41 minutes when he pulled up with a hamstring injury.

The Irishman is having the injury assessed to see how long he will be out of action for.

Little, 26, had a stop-start first season with PNE because of injuries.

Things ground to a complete halt this term, with him not having made a single appearance in the first-team squad.

North End manager Simon Grayson hoped the loan move down the M55 would be of benefit to Little.

“Andy has been unfortunate here – he’s had a stop-start period with us since he came 18 months ago,” Grayson told the Evening Post.

“He has never had a run of games and other people have gone past him in the pecking order.

“People might look at the loan and wonder why we are helping our neighbours out.

“But it is about looking after the player as well and him being able to get first-team football under his belt.”

Blackpool manager Neil McDonald threw Little straight into his team for Saturday’s clash at Roots Hall.

Little hit the underside of the bar with a header which bounced down on the line before being cleared.

Then injury struck in the run-up to the interval.

Said McDonald: “He’d had a couple of good days’ training and looked really sharp.

“I wanted to put him up there and get going.

“It’s difficult to adapt to new training and a new squad but I thought he did well. I brought him here to score goals and he’s had a really good chance.

“I was a bit critical of him in the changing room before I saw the video, but his header was good and should have gone in.”

Little joined Preston on a Bosman in June 2014 after coming to the end of his contract at Glasgow Rangers.

Although prolific in the lower Scottish leagues, he has been unable to reproduce that form south of the border.

He scored twice in his first six games last season, finding the net against Rochdale and Sheffield United.

Injury kept him out between September and December, with Little returning to action before Christmas.

His last league start for PNE came at Crewe on December 28, and he also started the FA Cup win over Norwich on January 3.

But Little’s only action after that came in sub appearances against Barnsley, Rochdale and Bradford.

He is one of six players currently loaned out by PNE.

Kyel Reid has made nine starts for Bradford City since returning to Valley Parade in October – the winger’s loan runs until early January

Goalkeeper Jamie Jones is a regular between the sticks at Colchester.

Another PNE keeper, Steven James, made his debut for Droylsden on Saturday after joining them on loan until January 16.

It was a good start for James, with the Bloods winning 4-2 at Bridlington.

Nick Anderton is on loan at Barrow but currently suspended, while Jack Ryan is at Southport.