Fitness headache: Injuries hit key Preston players ahead of big Brentford clash
Preston North End have been hit by injuries to key players in the build-up to Wednesday’s huge game at Brentford.
Ben Pearson and Ben Davies both limped out of the 1-1 draw with Nottingham Forest on Saturday.
Patrick Bauer completed the game despite having a tight hamstring, while a calf strain ruled Alan Browne out.
Realistically, North End need to bring something back from Griffin Park to keep apace with the play-offs.
Brentford have won seven games on the bounce and are looking a formidable force as they make a late challenge for automatic prmotion.
Centre-half Davies pulled up with a hamstring injury just before half-time against Forest.
He was replaced by Jordan Storey who had been getting ready to take Bauer’s place.
Pearson didn’t come out for the second half after being hurt in a collision with his team-mate Sean Maguire late in the first half.
Browne’s calf injury was one picked up last midweek at Sheffield Wednesday.
North End manager Alex Neil said: “Ben Davies hurt his hamstring and Ben Pearson’s knee is quite sore.
“Jordan Storey had been warming-up because Patrick Bauer’s hamstring was a bit tight.
“The difficulty we have got at the moment is the turnover of games.
“I spoke about this before a ball was kicked so it is not a sour grapes at this point, it was always going to be difficult.
“Ben Davies, Ben Pearson and Alan Browne are guys that normally when fit, play each and every match.
“We are in unprecedented times with how many minutes these lads are going to have to play.
“The magnitude of the games we are playing means we can’t afford to leave key players out because we need to win them.
“Unfortunately that has come home to roost.”
Only four PNE players have started all six games since the restart – Davies, Pearson, Andrew Hughes and Declan Rudd.
While the injury bulletin is a concern, Storey and Ryan Ledson caught Neil’s eye when replacing Davies and Pearson.
Both had been unfortunate to be dropped to the bench after strong performances at Sheffield Wednesday.
Neil said: “I thought Jordan was excellent when he came on, it was a really good performance.
“Ryan did very well and I thought all the subs who came on to the pitch made a good contribution.”
Jayden Stockley netted against Forest, his second goal in four days. The striker brought PNE level in the 15th minute after the visitors has taken the lead with an early Lewis Grabban penalty.