PNE midfielder Paul is putting in the miles

North End midfield ace Paul Gallagher
North End midfield ace Paul Gallagher

Paul Gallagher’s substitution in the second half of Preston’s win against Bristol City was a case of ‘looking after him’, says Alex Neil.

The midfielder played an hour of the 2-1 victory before giving way to Daniel Johnson.

He had returned to action at Bolton last Saturday after a hamstring strain, getting through 89 minutes there.

North End manager Neil said: “I’m hopeful that Gally will be fine for the weekend.

“His hamstring tightened up a little bit so we got him off.

“At the time he came off the game had become big in the middle of the pitch, both forward lines were trying to stretch it.

“So that meant a lot of ground needed to be covered.

“At Bolton Gally had one of his highest numbers in terms of ground covered.

“He is 33, he is important to us because of his quality in the midfield.

“Sometimes you need to look after him.”

Gallagher has featured in 26 games this season, not bad when you bear in mind he was dogged by injury and illness for the first three months of the campaign.

Neil pointed out that of the nine games Gallagher, Alan Browne and Ben Pearson had started as a midfield three, PNE had won seven of them.

On the selection front, the Lilywhites boss believes he has now got the biggest squad in terms of numbers he has had at any time this season.

Skipper Tom Clarke is the only player missing through injury at the moment and he is not far away from a return.

Said Neil: “Tom is close, I’m not sure about this weekend but certainly he will be back in contention soon.”