Preston North End duo Barkhuizen and Hughes ruled out for rest of season

Preston winger Tom Barkhuizen will miss the rest of the season with a knee injury
Preston winger Tom Barkhuizen will miss the rest of the season with a knee injury

Alex Neil thinks Preston’s high work-rate could be the reason for some of the injuries which his players have suffered this season.

The Lilywhites boss will be without Tom Barkhuizen and Andrew Hughes for the rest of the regular season, while six other first-team players are sidelined at the moment.

It is a variety of injuries the walking-wounded have, picked up in different ways – a good number of them being contact ones.

Neil said: “We run heavy and we run hard, we have got success that way.

“For us to dip away from that approach would damage our prospects.

“Players suffer injuries in different ways, it is not as if you can bracket them all into one category.

“Tom Barkhuizen, Andrew Hughes and Alan Browne all have contact injuries, Tom Clarke’s was a kick on the knee at Millwall.

“Others have had muscle injuries – non-contact ones.

“Sean Maguire had issues with his hamstrings – that was a load issue.

“When he used to go away with the Republic of Ireland they gave him too much to do.

“Mick McCarthy is now the manager there and they take our training regime and give it to Sean when he’s there.

“Sean came back in great shape this time which we were thankful for.

“Callum Robinson got his injury immediately after he had come back from playing for Ireland.

“It is good for them and good for us that we have lads playing internationals but we shouldn’t have to not play them when they come back.”

Speaking at a fans’ forum, Neil revealed that Barkhuizen and Hughes would both miss the remaining seven games.

Barkhuizen has not played since March 2 when he came on as a substitute in the 1-1 draw with Bristol City.

The winger had a cartilage issue in his knee and has had a wash-out procedure of the knee joint.

Left-back Hughes suffered hamstring damage during the win over Birmingham before the international break.

He got a push in the back while extending his leg, that forcing him to over-stretch.

Hughes has really made the left-back position his own in recent months.

After a steady start to the campaign after his summer move from Peterborough, he had a spell out of the team in November.

But the Welshman got back into the team after Josh Earl was injured in December and played every game from then until Birmingham.

Earl deputised at Reading last Saturday and will look to get a run in the side.

January buy Joe Rafferty is another option, having played left-back a number of times for Rochdale.