Alex Neil’s big selection issue for Preston’s Deepdale clash with Brentford tomorrow will revolve round the No.10 role.
PNE boss Neil has played Alan Browne behind Jordan Hugill in recent games but the Irishman serves a one-match ban this weekend – the legacy of his red card at Wolves.
Sean Maguire is an option – he is expected back after hamstring trouble.
Neil name-checked Josh Harrop and Callum Robinson too, when going through his choices.
“Alan will be a big loss for us because he has done well in that area of the pitch for us,” said Neil.
“Equally, it gives someone else an opportunity to come in and show what they can do.
“Alan’s work-rate is very good, with his running off the ball to support the striker and the winning of second balls.
“He helps keep the sitting midfielder quiet, he’s very good at that.
“If we could add a couple of goals to his game, that would take Alan on to a new level.
“We have got Callum and Josh who can play as a No.10.
“They are very creative in different ways, they probably do less running off the ball than Alan would but equally are technically very good and can pick a pass.
“We will have a look at what the best option is.
“Sean Maguire has been used in that area as well, so that is another one.”
Maguire came off half-an-hour into the 2-2 draw against Fulham a fortnight ago with a tight hamstring.
He missed last week’s 3-2 defeat at Wolves but Neil is confident of his availability tomorrow.
Said Neil: “I expect Sean to be back, hopefully he will be in the frame.”
Tomorrow’s game is North End’s first at home for a month, and is followed by the visit of Aston Villa here on Wednesday night.
After testing games on the road at Fulham and Wolves since the international break, Neil is pleased to be back in front of the PNE faithful.
“It should be a good game, we have acquitted ourselves very well so far this season and I expect us to do the same,” said Neil.
“We have a good record at home and we want to make sure we pick up as many points as we can in these next couple of games.
“Hopefully we can start with a win tomorrow.”
Tommy Spurr and John Welsh are set to miss out again through injury.
Centre-half Spurr was hurt in training during the last international break, while Welsh had to sit out the Wolves game.
Maguire, Browne and Daryl Horgan have been named in a provisional 34-man Republic of Ireland squad for the World Cup play-off games against Denmark next month.