Preston North End manager Simon Grayson was today counting the cost of the loss of three players to injury during last night’s defeat to Fulham.
Tom Clarke, Calum Woods and Jordan Hugill all came off hurt during the 2-1 defeat at Deepdale and are early doubts for Saturday’s visit to promotion-hunting Middlesbrough.
Clarke was off by the 11th minute after getting a bang on the head, with Woods joining him in the dressing room after pulling a calf muscle.
In the second half, Hugill got a knock on the ankle and gave way to Jermaine Beckford.
The defeat to Fulham was North End’s first at home since January 23.
They trailed from the fifth minute when Ross McCormack took advantage of some poor defending to run through and score.
Marnick Vermijl, on as replacement for Woods, pulled the hosts level with a marvellous finish in the 64th minute.
But parity lasted just 10 minutes with Moussa Dembele getting the winner from close range after Anders Lindegaard has pushed a McCormack free-kick against the post.
Grayson said: “We suffered the early injuries to Tom Clarke who got the head injury and Calum who hurt his calf.
“Jordan Hugill’s ankle then swelled up so he had to come off.
“As strong as the bench was in terms of trying to get us back into the game, we could only use Jermaine Beckford as a forward player.
“We used two substitutes to replace defenders early in the game. So while we had Eoin Doyle, Callum Robinson, Daniel Johnson and Jermaine on the bench as attacking options, three of them were still sat there at the end.
“There are still few days to get the injuries sorted but I would say Tom and Calum are major doubts for Middlesbrough and Jordan will be touch and go.
“Adam Reach cannot play at the weekend at Middlesbrough because he’s on loan from there so suddenly we are back down to the bare bones.”
The defeat frustrated Grayson, with him of the view his side deserved far more from the contest.
Grayson said: “It was a frustrating night, sometimes in games you don’t get what you deserve – that was the case here.
“I thought we were the better team and created more chances.
“Fulham got the early goal which gave them something to hang on to.
“We passed the ball better in the second half scored the equaliser and there was only one side looking to go and win the game.
“It wasn’t helped by some of the tactics being used at times by Fulham.
“When we attacked, things weren’t quite dropping for us in the box.
“I couldn’t ask much more of the players, they gave everything.
“We just didn’t get the breaks when we really needed them.”