Preston North End boss Alex Neil vows to get to the root of this season’s injuries
Alex Neil will have Preston’s lengthy injury list assessed at the end of the season in a bid to avoid a similar pile-up in the 2019/20 campaign.
The PNE manager intends having an ‘outside audit’ done to assess fitness, training and weekly schedules.
Neil has not had a full squad to select from all season, with Billy Bodin damaging his knee before a ball was kicked and missing the full campaign.
There have been several medium to long-term injuries at different stages.
Tom Barkhuizen, Andrew Hughes and Brandon Barker have of late joined Bodin and Josh Harrop in being ruled out for the rest of the season.
Neil said: “The injuries are something which I’m going to have to address.
“What we are going to do is get an outside audit done at the end of the season to see if there is anything we are doing that might be hindering us.
“As a staff we are honest with each other. Myself, the physio, the sports science staff and the coaching staff have all spoken about our methods.
“We are all happy with what we have been doing but we can’t turn a blind eye to the fact we’ve had a lot of injuries this season – and last season to a certain extent.
“I think there are certain factors which have played a part – we have got a lot of young players who haven’t played at this level a lot.
“There are key positions in terms of how much ground they cover for us.
“That might be something we look at tweaking, in terms of how we play.
“We won’t leave anything off the table, I’m not precious about my training methods and the structure of the week.
“They are all things we will look at and we will make sure that we won’t leave any stone unturned.”
Hamstring injuries have been a feature in particular on the casualty list.
Hughes, Barker, Callum Robinson, Sean Maguire, Ben Davies and Louis Moult are among those to have suffered to differing extents.
Neil says the injury list will not shorten to any great extent for the games over the Easter weekend.
The one player who could climb off the treatment table in time to face Ipswich Town on Friday is Paul Gallagher.
He was forced off during the defeat at West Bromwich with injuries to both his shins after being on the receiving end of a hefty challenge.
Said Neil: “The lads who have been missing have not had niggles or knocks, they have all been proper injuries.
“I’m not sure those will be resolved by the weekend if I’m being honest.
“We’ll have look at Gally, he was on the end of an horrific tackle which happened right in front of me.
“The lad has caught both of Gally’s legs about two inches below the knee – it is not as if it was just above the ankle where the ball was.
“Rarely when it is a contact injury – unless you damage a ligament or a bone – do you have to come off the pitch.
“It shows the ferocity of the tackle, the fact it went through two shin pads, that Gally had to come off. His shins were in a bit of a state.”