Preston ease Scott Sinclair into action as they face up to being without Billy Bodin due to training ground injury

Preston North End's Scott Sinclair in action
Preston North End's Scott Sinclair in action

After strengthening Preston’s left flank and attack with the arrival of Scott Sinclair at Deepdale, Alex Neil is facing a spell without Billy Bodin on the other side of the pitch.

Bodin has been ruled out with an injury sustained in training – friendly-fire in the fact he was hurt in a tackle with Josh Harrop.

It was Harrop who scored a superb equaliser to earn the Lilywhites a 1-1 draw against Blackburn at Ewood Park.

He struck from the edge of the box with a thunderous right-foot shot, bringing his side level after they had fallen behind to an early goal from Adam Armstrong.

Late in the game, Sinclair was introduced from the bench for his North End bow after joining from Celtic.

Addressing the absence of Bodin, Preston manager Neil said: “Billy got injured which was disappointing because we know how technical he is.

“We have had a scan done and it doesn’t look great.

“It was an innocuous challenge in training, Josh Harrop caught him.

“He felt it but continued through the whole session without a problem.

“Later that night he phoned the physio to say it had really swelled up. We got him scanned which showed a bit of damage in there.”

Neil didn’t reveal the exact nature of the injury and to what area of Bodin’s body.

With regards Sinclair’s use at Blackburn, Neil explained it would have been wrong to throw him in from the start.

Having played just once for Celtic in three months, he was limited to an 80th minute appearance off the bench.

“We couldn’t fling Scott in cold,” said Neil.

“I have watched him train, I have watched him over the years playing and I know exactly what he is capable of.

“We just need to get him sharp, get him up speed, get him minutes under his belt and get him ready so he can show what he can do.

“One hundred per cent I understand the expectation of the fans because Scott is an exciting signing.

“My job is to manage the squad and we need to make sure Scott is ready.”

Neil admitted to not being ‘elated’ with the draw against Rovers, more so ‘content’ at taking a point when PNE were not at their best.

“When you are playing well you want to open up a game so you can try and dominate,” said Neil.

“Sometimes though, when you need to dig in and put a point on the board you have to make the game stuffy.

“We chose to do that to make sure we got a point away from home. It was a derby and the last things we wanted to do was lose.

“I’m not saying we went home elated but we went content with the fact we had picked up a point.”