Alex Neil probes Preston North End’s injury crisis

Alex Neil is puzzled by PNE's growing injury list
Alex Neil is puzzled by PNE's growing injury list

Alex Neil says he has looked at all areas of Preston’s training in a bid to find reasons for the lengthy injury list.

The Lilywhites had seven first-team regulars sidelined for the defeat at Birmingham a week ago and Ben Davies sat on the bench recovering from a hamstring injury.

Neil insists the patterns and workloads in training are the same as they were during the second half of last season when his squad were relatively untroubled by injuries.

PNE boss Neil said: “We have looked at everything.

“We’ve had meetings over the last few weeks looking at our training patterns and the work we do.

“Our training patterns this season are the mirror image of what they were in the second half of last season.

“That is when we had our best run in terms of players being fit and relatively free of injury – most of our players were back and flying then.

“Our training patterns and workloads, the days we train, are the same as they were in that period.

“If anything, the intensity is slightly down, we have taken a little bit off it to make sure we try and keep them fit.

“It’s really frustrating I’ve got to admit.

“We’ve looked at all sorts of things, for example the weights work we do.”

An issue for Neil is keeping players match sharp when out of the team.

Training ground games have been in short supply and that can cause problems in the longer term.

Said Neil: “We’ve struggled to get bounce games, it’s been a real struggle for whatever reason.

“We’ve not got an Under-23s side so we need bounce games instead.

“We have had a couple of games with the youth team lads but that is never going to recreate what the lads need to get ready for the first team.”

Callum Robinson joined the injured list when he tore a hamstring tendon during the derby win over Blackburn a fortnight ago.

He had surgery in London last Saturday and has been back at the training ground on crutches this week.

Neil said: “When you look at the injuries there is not a constant theme, there are some different injuries.

“We’ve got two knees, two hamstrings, two quads and Tom Clarke’s broken nose with an infection everywhere.

“If there was some sort of consistent soft tissue injury or a particular joint which was causing the problem, we could adapt things.

“But it is wide-ranging spread of injuries and that has caused us difficulties in terms of getting our strongest team on the pitch and making sure we can do our job.

“Hopefully we can get one or two back soon to ease things slightly.”