Irvine to raid loan market

Alan Irvine is planning to raid the emergency loan market before Thursday's deadline to prevent a long-running injury crisis sinking Preston's play-off chances.

The North End boss was forced to call up teenager Adam Barton to make up the numbers on the bench at Charlton on Saturday after skipper Paul McKenna became the latest player to join the casualty list.

Charlton 0 PNE 0 - match report

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And after revealing he had been frustrated in his attempts to sign at least one player on Friday, Irvine assured fans he will be doing his best to get someone in before all trading ceases in three days' time.

"I've been making a lot of phone calls, but it doesn't happen easily," he said after his threadbare squad fought out a goalless draw at The Valley.

"We thought we were getting close to one or two, but they didn't happen in time for Saturday's game.

"We've now got a few days to think about it and see if anything else can happen."

Irvine was down to 15 senior players in South London after McKenna was ruled out with a dead leg suffered in training.

With Richard Chaplow (hamstring) and Barry Nicholson (ribs) already sidelined for lengthy periods, Irvine had to field a makeshift midfield with Chris Sedgwick – only just back from a hernia operation – teaming up with Darren Carter in the centre.

It is not the first time Irvine has been scratching around for bodies to fill the teamsheet this season with injuries having a big impact on one of the smallest squads in the Championship.

For Preston to be up in seventh place, and still in with a chance of making the play-offs, with little more than a month remaining, is a triumph of resolve over resources for the enterprising Scot.

But the draining effect of having to once again make do and mend was evident at The Valley on Saturday with North End unable to summon up enough quality to overcome an Addicks side already resigned to League One football next season.

Charlton created the better chances and, but for Andrew Lonergan, would probably have won the match.

Irvine admitted he was satisfied with a point considering the never-ending injury misery that is threatening to undermine his side's promotion push.

"You have to look at the circumstances," he said. "We've had to dig deep.

"Our lads could have felt sorry for themselves with everything that has gone against us in recent weeks, but they didn't. They hung in and they should be commended for that.

"On many occasions this year we have been down to what I would call the bare bones, but we stripped them even more bare this weekend.

"We ended up in a situation where we have had players playing out of position, and we have had a player on the bench in Liam Chilvers who hasn't been involved for a year and still isn't really ready.

"And we had a lad, Adam Barton, who has only recently signed a professional contract, who we hope will be a very promising player for the future, but he isn't ready just now.

"We have a very small squad anyway, but the last few weeks have stretched that just a little bit too far."