Alan Browne admission made by Ryan Lowe after Preston North End's loss to Southampton

Alan Browne and Ryan LoweAlan Browne and Ryan Lowe
Alan Browne and Ryan Lowe
The PNE captain was brought off the bench at St Mary's

Preston North End manager Ryan Lowe says he is uncomfortable starting Alan Browne at the moment amid a calf issue.

The Lilywhites lost 3-0 at Southampton on Tuesday night and - having started against Norwich City last time out - Browne dropped to the bench at St Mary’s. He came on for the final 20 minutes, as did Ryan Ledson - who has recently returned from injury. PNE’s midfield has been hit hard and while Browne isn’t sidelined - like Ben Whiteman and Ali McCann - he is one Lowe is taking a cautious approach with.

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“We are governed by the physios on that and are in dialogue all the time,” said Lowe. “We are pushing him to the limits, but we have a duty of care. Browney will say yeah and that he is alright, just stiff - but I don’t want buts, I need: ‘Yeah, I am available and ready’. We’ve had to have a bit of dialogue with him in terms of what could happen and what might happen. We don’t want to lose anyone for longer than a few days. For us to lose him for three or four weeks - potentially longer - we are at risk. As I say, he is the leader and the captain and he wants to make sure he’s available.”

Lowe added: “If Alan Browne is fit, he plays every day of the week. We are in a dialogue situation at the moment, because there is not much riding on the games as such - barring the passion and everything like that, of course. We have a duty of care to players who are not 100 per cent fit and Alan Browne is not 100 per cent fit at the minute. We’ll address Browney and Ledo after tonight, shut them down and wrap them up in cotton wool. We’ll see what we’ve got for Saturday.”

In the absence of Browne, in PNE’s starting lineup, Lowe handed Noah Mawene his second start for the first team. The teenager was deployed next to makeshift midfielder, Jack Whatmough - a centre-back by trade. Lowe admitted post-match that it was a tough challenge for the duo, but offered more praise for the courage shown by Mawene.

“I thought he was fantastic,” said Lowe. “He knows he can do better in certain moments, but so could a lot of the players in the first half. That pressure of getting booked early doors, to see that through until 70 minutes was pleasing for him. He will be gutted in there, because the two games he has started we have not won - but that’s no slight on him. He is a fantastic kid, a great athlete and has some good qualities. When you are down to your bare bones and certain individuals aren’t available, or can only play so many minutes, then you have to trust him - and I trust him. He did everything right, but they all could’ve done a bit better.”

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