Hugill on the mend

Jordan Hugill missed PNE's defeat at Leeds because he was suffering from concussion
Jordan Hugill missed PNE's defeat at Leeds because he was suffering from concussion
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Preston hope to have joint top scorer Jordan Hugill back in action for the Good Friday trip to Huddersfield.

The striker missed the 3-0 defeat at Leeds after getting a bang on the head during last week’s clash with Bristol City.

It brought to an end a long run in the squad for Hugill, had a rare day on the sidelines.

The 11-goal front man had featured in every league game since the second week of the season.

North End manager Simon Grayson said: “Hopefully he will be all right for Friday.

“Jordan had a little bit of concussion after last week’s game and we had to rule him out on Saturday.”

Not since the 2-1 home loss to Fulham on August 13 had Hugill not seen action in a Championship game.

The 24-year-old was an 
unused substitute that day but has featured in every 
other league game, either starting or coming off the bench.

In Hugill’s absence at Leeds, Grayson partnered Tom Barkhuizen with Callum Robinson up front.

For the last 20 minutes, he took Robinson off and moved Barkhuizen to the left wing, using Simon Makienok and Jermaine Beckford as subs.

Makienok looked the more obvious stand-in for Hugill but Grayson explained that he went for a different approach to start with.

“We didn’t play Simon from the start because we thought the two lads (Robinson and Barkhuizen) were smaller and could move quickly, get on the half-turn and run down the sides of their defence,” said Grayson.

“To be fair, they did that a few times and caused Leeds problems early on.

“Unfortunately we could not get the first goal which would have changed how the game went.”

If fully recovered, Hugill is likely to go back into the team for the clash with third-placed Huddersfield.

As well as the four strikers used at Leeds, North End also have the option of Stevie May up front.

The Scotsman has not made the bench for three of the last four games.

May has come off the bench three times since returning from a 15-month absence with a serious knee injury.

With the play-offs now looking beyond North End, it will be interesting to see if May gets more time on the pitch during the last five games with a view to building up his match fitness for next season.

Meanwhile, a fans’ forum is being held in the Greats’ Room at Deepdale tonight.

Doors open at 6pm for a 6.30pm start, with Grayson, chief executive John Kay and the club’s senior management taking questions.

Tickets are free but fans are invited to make a donation to Rainbow House.