Preston North End could hand full debut to defender Bambo

Bambo Diaby is on standby for a full Preston North End debut this weekend.

By Dave Seddon
Thursday, 3rd March 2022, 8:00 am

The 24-year-old is an option to come into PNE’s back three against second-placed Bournemouth at Deepdale.

Liam Lindsay will miss Saturday’s clash as he is serving a one-match suspension, while Patrick Bauer has been struggling with a hip injury.

So that pushes Diaby up the defensive pecking order to face the Cherries.

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The plan of North End manager Ryan Lowe had been to play Diaby in the reserves on Tuesday to get some much-needed game time under his belt.

But his name was missing from the team-sheet for the Central League clash with Fleetwood Town at Euxton which ended goalless.

That suggests PNE were cutting the risk of Diaby picking up an injury ahead of the weekend.

The former Barnsley defender made his Lilywhites debut as a stoppage-time substitute in last week’s 1-1 draw with Coventry City.

Preston North End defender Bambo Diaby

Before that, his only action after completing a two-year ban from football for taking a banned substance, was a 70-minute run in the reserves against Bolton a fortnight ago.

If Diaby was needed against Bournemouth, it would be a big test for his first start in a Preston shirt.

The Cherries, who will include former PNE midfielder Ben Pearson in their squad, are second in the Championship and on course for automatic promotion to the Premier League.

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Lindsay’s suspension is the legacy of his red card for two bookings at Coventry, a punishment North End were unable to appeal against.

The Coventry clash was a game Bauer missed after limping out of the 0-0 draw with Nottingham Forest with a hip injury.

It is hoped that the German can be fit in time for Saturday but Diaby provides an alternative to play alongside Sepp van den Berg and Andrew Hughes at the back.

On the injury front, North End winger Josh Murphy came through an hour of the reserves to put himself in contention for the Bournemouth game.

Murphy had been out since October, firstly with a torn ankle ligament and then a calf muscle injury.

Greg Cunningham (calf), Sean Maguire (ankle) and Tom Barkhuizen (calf), are not too far off regaining fitness.

It is hoped they can re-join the squad for full training ahead of the visit to Cardiff a week on Saturday.