Clear midweek is a big boost for Preston North End left-back Greg Cunningham

Alex Neil thinks the clear midweek has come at the right time for Preston North End defender Greg Cunningham.

Monday, 8th March 2021, 12:30 pm

No Tuesday or Wednesday night game is a rarity this season and PNE boss Neil says that will allow Cunningham some recovery time.

The left-back has started the last five matches, skippering the side at Millwall last week in Alan Browne’s absence.

Playing that many games in a row has been unusual for Cunningham in recent seasons.

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Preston North End left-back Greg Cunningham

Hence Neil’s relief that he can have a bit of a breather this week ahead of the next game at Wycombe Wanderers on Saturday.

Neil said: “Greg has been worrying me because he puts his body through the wringer.

“This week couldn’t come soon enough to give him a bit of a rest.

“Since Greg left us three or so years ago, rarely has he played four or five games on the bounce like he’s just done.

“When a player hasn’t had a lot of football, you’ve got to be careful when they do start to play a lot of games.

“We’ve seen with Liam Lindsay what can happen.

“He hadn’t played for a year and then started four games on the bounce,now he’s got an injury and hasn’t been able to play of late.”

Cunningham, 30, left PNE in the summer of 2018 to sign for Cardiff for £4m.

The move to South Wales gave him the chance to play Premier League football but chances were limited that season, with him making only eight appearances.

Early last season he went on loan to Blackburn, that ended prematurely by a knee ligament injury.

Cunningham’s time with Rovers at least afforded him a decent run of games, with him starting seven on the bounce before damaging his knee.

This season back at Cardiff, he made six appearances before joining North End on loan in January – a move which was made permanent early in February as Preston sought to reduce the number of players they had on loan.

Cunningham’s second PNE debut came against Sheffield Wednesday as a substitute, and he then started and scored in the 2-1 derby win at Blackburn.

He was an unused sub the following game against Watford but has started the six since.

The Irishman has brought experience and another option to the left-back slot, releasing Andrew Hughes to play as a centre-back.

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