Calum Woods shouldn’t be too down after early change says Preston boss Alex Neil

Preston North End's Calum Woods
Preston North End's Calum Woods

Alex Neil says Calum Woods need not be too disheartened by his first-half substitution in Preston’s defeat to Ipswich last week.

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The right-back was hooked along with Callum Robinson in a double change.

Robinson’s withdraw was part of a switch of system but Woods’ exit saw left-back Greg Cunningham move across to play out of position.

Later, Cunningham went back to the left with Josh Earl filling in at right-back.

North End manager Neil said: “Calum did just not play well enough, simple as that, the lad Carayol caused him problems.

“Calum has been excellent for us when he’s come into the team on other occasions.

“The strange thing with him is that he seems to play a couple of games and then is out for a week or so.

“Calum doesn’t really get a consistent run and if you are like that, it is hard to build up momentum in your play.

“To be honest, we were as flat as anything last week and I could have taken any of them off.

“Sometimes when you are that flat, you just need to do something radical and I felt we needed a jolt to try and get us going.

“That is why I did what I did, no other reason.”

What Neil chooses to do at right-back against Bolton on Saturday will be interesting.

Darnell Fisher is serving the second of a two-game ban and Tom Clarke remains on the injured list – the skipper has missed four games.

Reflecting on how Earl and Cunningham performed at right-back, Neil said: “They did okay but neither of them are right-footed and are not right-backs.

“It wasn’t ideal but it was needs-must.”

On the fitness front, North End had Daniel Johnson back in training yesterday after the midfielder’s absence because of a head injury.

DJ got a ball kicked against his temple late in the Wolves game and missed the matches with Aston Villa and Ipswich.

“This was his first real test, he’s had short-term memory loss which whenever you have that is a worry,” said Neil.

“He couldn’t remember the game, he couldn’t remember the score, so we told him he’d scored a hat-trick when he was on.

“We needed to take all the necessary precautions and hopefully DJ is okay now, we’ll keep checking him.”

The cold snap has not kept the PNE squad off the training pitch, with them able to have a full session at Springfields yesterday.

Neil said: “It has not stopped us but the weather is not ideal.

“On Tuesday night into Wednesday it hit minus seven, so our groundsman had to do a lot of work on the pitch to get it ready for us to train.”