Preston North End pair Josh Harrop and Billy Bodin will not be rushed back from cruciate ligament injuries this season.
Lilywhites boss Alex Neil says it would be ‘negligent’ to have them playing before next season and wants to get a full pre-season programme into their legs.
Both are progressing well in their rehabilitation but the seriousness of their injuries have to be borne in mind.
Neil is mindful that this is Bodin’s second such injury. “You won’t see Billy or Josh before the end of the season,” said Neil.
“Both lads have damaged their cruciate ligament and it is a big injury.
“It would be negligent of me to force them back before the end of the season – Billy in particular as this is his second one.
“If we rushed Billy through and he got another one, that would be career-threatening.
“I want to give them both a strong pre-season so that they can remain injury-free next season and be a big part of what we do.”
It was four days before the start of the season that Bodin ruptured his cruciate during a passing drill in training.
He had played well in pre-season, scoring a fine goal against West Ham in a friendly game.
Bodin, a £500,00 signing from Bristol Rovers, damaged cartilage in his knee too when suffering the ligament injury.
Harrop’s injury came soon after he had come on as a sub in September’s 3-2 defeat to West Bromwich Albion.
It came in the process of setting up a late goal for Alan Browne, Harrop twisting as he was tackled.
That was his 50th game for PNE following his arrival from Manchester United.
Both players have been out running on the pitches at Springfields in recent weeks.
It might be that they get to the stage of being able to do some football training with their team-mates before the season is out, giving them a platform to build on when they return in the summer.