Alex Neil has revealed that Andrew Hughes’ latest absence from the Preston team has been because of a fractured bone in his foot.
The left-back has sat out the last three games since he was hurt early on in the 3-2 derby victory over Blackburn on October 26.
PNE manager Neil had kept the injury under wraps but spoke about it in the build-up to Wednesday night’s visit to Hull City.
Hughes is well down the road to recovery from the break but is still regarded as ‘touch and go’ for the KCOM Stadium clash.
The damaged foot is the latest injury Hughes has had this season, with a damaged hamstring and strained hip flexor having previously kept him sidelined.
The Welshman played as a centre-half against Rovers due to Ben Davies being out.
He suffered the fracture early on but completed the game before the extent of the damage was confirmed.
Neil said: “What happened was that Hughesy kicked the bottom of the boot of one of the Blackburn lads and he fractured the top of his foot.
“It was a contact injury, there was nothing you can do about it. It is not a soft tissue injury or muscle damage, it is just a case of the bone healing.
“For the next game he is touch and go but he’s not that far away at all.
“Hughesy has been on the grass running and can do a lot of stuff.
“Just hitting the ball longer distances is what is holding him back at the moment.
“That is where he was at before the weekend so it shouldn’t be too long before it settles down.”
Hughes got the injury soon after PNE had fallen 2-0 behind to Rovers inside 11 minutes.
They hit back to score three goals in the second half to claim victory.
Neil said: “It was early in the game and with how we were playing Hughesy was under pressure to stay on the pitch.
“He didn’t know he had fractured it at the time to be fair to him.
“Sometimes with an injury like that you can withstand it for the rest of the game and then it becomes an issue.”
Hughes, 27, has been limited to five appearances this campaign.
He tore a hamstring in the second game of the season against Wigan, returning in the 1-0 win at Birmingham on September 21.
In that game he got a kick on his hip flexor which kept him out until the Blackburn match.