Alex Neil reveals where he sees Preston North End midfielder Ryan Ledson’s future

Preston midfielder Ryan Ledson slides in for a challenge against West Bromwich Albion
Preston midfielder Ryan Ledson slides in for a challenge against West Bromwich Albion

Preston boss Alex Neil thinks Ryan Ledson will develop into an all-round midfielder rather than be restricted to a ‘holding role’.

Many of Ledson’s games for PNE have come in the ‘No.6’ position as a stand-in for Ben Pearson.

He filled that role at West Bromwich on Saturday as Pearson started a three-match suspension.

Against Sheffield United the week before, Ledson was higher up the pitch.

And longer term, Neil is of the view that might be a better role for him.

Neil said: “Having watched Ryan’s games this season, I’m not convinced that the No.6 is solely his best position.

“What I think is that Ryan is very good at playing up against someone.

“He is a tough proposition for any opponent because he is aggressive, can move the ball, can get up to support and can run beyond the front player.

“When we played Sheffield United the other week, I just felt we needed players right up against John Fleck and Oliver Norwood.

“Ryan and Alan Browne were the perfect two for that kind of job.

“That would probably be the position I would like to see Ryan play a little bit more in.”

Ledson has played 26 times this season, with 16 of those being starts.

With Pearson not available until after Easter, there is the chance for Ledson to get a run of games under his belt.

Said Neil: “It has been quite difficult for Ryan this season, it’s naturally tough when you are trying to take Ben’s place.

“Ben has got much more experience at this level.

“Ryan is a determined lad and great to work with.

“He has improved a lot this season and I expect him to keep on improving.

“I’m confident that he will show his quality more and more as he gains experience.

“This is his first season in the Championship and like a lot of the lads here, he is still learning his trade.”

Already without Pearson, North End lost the services of Paul Gallagher on Saturday.

Gallagher came off before half-time at The Hawthorns with a shin injury and is an early doubt for the meeting with Ipswich on Good Friday at Deepdale.

Neil felt the challenge on the 34-year-old midfielder by WBA wing-back Mason 
Holgate was on the naughty side, although it was not given as a foul.

“It was a bad challenge at the time, the referee was wrong side of it so he didn’t see it,” Neil told PNE’s official website.

“The fourth official who was right in front of it didn’t deem anything wrong with it.

“But if you look at the 
challenge, it’s not just one of Gally’s shins – it’s both, it’s right across his two legs.”