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Greg Cunningham making progress says Preston boss Alex Neil

Alex Neil is pleased with the progress Greg Cunningham is making in his recovery from a serious hamstring injury.

The Preston left-back is working on his fitness on the Springfields training pitches with the club’s medical staff.

Greg Cunningham

Greg Cunningham

It is hoped he will return to action early in the new year.

Cunningham was injured in the latter stages of August’s 1-0 defeat at Derby.

He landed awkwardly after going up for a header, scans later revealing the hamstring muscle had detached from the tendon.

It is the same injury which Sean Maguire suffered last month, with both operated on by the same surgeon.

PNE boss Neil said: “Greg is doing well, he is working on his fitness at the moment.

“He has got quite a bit of work to do, remember that he also broke his leg towards the end of last season which put him out for a period of time.

“His fitness levels dropped then because of that.

“Greg came back from that injury, got himself into good nick and started to get a head of steam with the games.

“Then he got the injury at Derby, so we have started from square one.

“We will get him back up to speed and go from there.”

Neil has also provided an update on the progress of North End’s other long-term injured players Maguire and Tommy Spurr.

Maguire had surgery last month on his injury, while Spurr has been out since the start of October after tearing the medial ligament in his left knee in a bounce game.

Said Neil: “It is early stages still for Sean.

“He had the operation and his leg is still in a brace – that will come off the next time he sees the surgeon.

“Tommy Spurr got his knee brace off on Tuesday so he is making good progress.

“All the lads are gradually getting better but it will take time to get everyone back.”

Neil, meanwhile, says the recent spate of injuries has not altered his transfer plans for January a great deal.

“The areas which we need to strengthen remain the same,” said Neil.

“We have lads who will probably be back in January so what we don’t want to do is sign a player and then we have two coming back in a similar type of position.

“Our preparations for the January window are ongoing.

“Which positions we are looking to strengthen, I’m not going to say.”

Mel Phillipson, who was one of the founders of the PNE Former Players Association, has died aged 71.

The former landlord of the Windsor Castle pub, he was on the four-man committee which formed the association in 1998. Mr Phillipson’s funeral is at 2.45pm on Tuesday at the Carleton Crematorium, Blackpool.