PNE to keep eye on injured winger

Preston North End will monitor Aiden McGeady's fitness this week after the winger pulled up with an injury during the defeat at Sheffield Wednesday.
Preston North End's Aidan McGeady in actionPreston North End's Aidan McGeady in action
Preston North End's Aidan McGeady in action

McGeady hurt his groin late in the first half but played on until half-time, forcing Owls keeper Keiren Westwood into a save in added time.

At one stage, North End had Marnick Vermijl ready to come on to replace him but they delayed making the substitution until the interval.

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It was McGeady’s fourth game back after a month out with a hamstring strain.

Lilywhites manager Simon Grayson told the Evening Post: “It’s a bit of a groin injury, he felt it tighten.

“Aiden came off more as a precaution than anything and we went two up top.

“That allowed us to be a little more dynamic and we were better for that.

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“In the first 20 minutes of the game, we had been a bit slow with the ball and gave it away too much.

“In the second half we got on the front foot and asked questions of Sheffield Wednesday.”

McGeady was replaced by Vermijl, and Alan Browne by Jermaine Beckford in a double change at the interval.

Beckford was of course to feature in the extraordinary fallout with team-mate Eoin Doyle later, which made the headlines for all the wrong reasons.

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With the pair suspended for three games – they will not be available until Boxing Day – attacking options are in shorter supply for PNE.

So they will be hoping that McGeady’s injury is not a serious one and that a clear midweek will be sufficient to get him fit to face Blackburn on Saturday.

Likewise, Paul Gallagher is battling to recover from the calf strain which has sidelined him for the last two matches.

He initially limped off after an hour of the goalless draw with Wolves last month.

Gallagher then missed the Burton and Wednesday games.

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In terms of striking options during the bans for Doyle and Beckford, PNE have Jordan Hugill, Callum Robinson and Simon Makienok available.

It must be said that neither Doyle or Beckford had featured a great deal of late.

Beckford has had two spells out of the team with injury, a hamstring strain which sidelined him for two months and then a thigh niggle which forced him to miss the Wolves and Burton matches.

Doyle’s last Championship start came at Brentford in September, with him since starting the EFL Cup games at Bournemouth and Newcastle.

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The Irish front man came off the bench late on against Burton.

There could be a temptation to get Stevie May back in the squad after 12 months out with a serious knee injury.

North End have not wanted to rush the Scottish striker, with his comeback being a very measured one.

He played 70 minutes of the Lancashire Senior Cup game against Bolton and has seen action in a handful of bounce games at the training ground.

Another practice game is scheduled for this week.

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Meanwhile, tickets have gone on sale for PNE’s visit to Burton on January 2.

With an allocation of 1,690 and the Pirelli Stadium a new ground for many Preston fans, there is priority sale for the game.