Simon Grayson admits that Preston’s right-back position is providing a big concern, after he was deprived of four players through injury.
Tyias Browning became the latest to join the casualty list, a knee injury suffered in training set to sideline him for six weeks.
North End boss Grayson switched to a 3-4-3 system to try and cover Browning’s loss in the 2-1 win against Queens Park Rangers.
With that not working, he moved Greg Cunningham to right-back in a 4-4-2 and was full of praise for the Irishman, who is a left-back by trade.
Grayson said: “On Friday I had contemplated playing Greg at right-back in a 4-4-2 and he told me he was happy to give that his best.
“In the end we didn’t start in a 4-4-2 but we switched to it for the second half and Greg did very well.
“Greg is a great lad, he will play anywhere and has been exceptional since he came to the club.
“Right-back is a problem area for us at the moment.
“Tyias slipped in training and landed awkwardly on his knee, he’s going to be out for six weeks.
“Marnick Vermijl had his hernia operation last week, while Calum Woods and Alex Baptiste are both out.
“With Tyias it was just one of those things.
“It is a massive blow for him because he has just come back from a long-term injury and had settled really quickly into our squad and dressing room.
“Fair play to the lad, he came to watch our game which shows what he is all about.
“He could have gone back to Everton or sat at home with Soccer Saturday on.
“But Tyias came to show his support for the lads and that is something we appreciate.”
North End will be guided by Everton in terms of Browning’s recovery, in the same way they have been by Middlesbrough with Baptiste’s rehab from a knee injury which dates back almost two months.
Said Grayson: “Baps has started running and we want him back as quickly as we can.
“He is not our player, he’s on loan and the parent club guides you.”
Grayson expects that the absence of Ben Pearson will be a short one, a slight groin strain ruling him out against QPR. He is expected back at Fulham this weekend.