Ryan Ledson could get his chance to shine for Preston North End

Ryan Ledson applauds the Preston fans after last Saturday's victory over Millwall
Ryan Ledson applauds the Preston fans after last Saturday's victory over Millwall

Ben Pearson’s latest ban will mean an untimely change to a settled Preston midfield for two big games ahead.

Ryan Ledson is the prime candidate to fill Pearson’s boots in the deep role, unless Alex Neil goes for something of a re-jig in the engine room.

It has not quite happened for the 21-year-old yet at Deepdale but this could be the time for him to seize his chance.

Ledson is a like-for-like replacement for Pearson.

He can put his foot in but given the chance, can play too.

You look at how Pearson has influenced some of the matches in the recent unbeaten run – especially on the road – and hope Ledson can replicate that.

Since last summer’s move from Oxford United, Ledson has had limited opportunities to shine.

This campaign was always going to be a settling-in one for him, this being his first in the Championship.

Other recruits from the same market in recent years have needed time to find their feet before going on to show top form.

Ledson’s progress at the start of the season slowed due to his red card in the League Cup win at Leeds. His three-game ban was to overlap 
partly with Pearson’s suspension for a sending-off after the final whistle against Bolton at Deepdale.

It was probably during the Christmas games that we saw the potential which Ledson offers.

On Boxing Day against Hull, he came off the bench at half-time and put in a performance in the second half which was full of promise.

Ledson followed that up with a great display, in line with the rest of his team-mates, in the 1-1 draw with Aston Villa.

When the squad got back to full strength in January, you could argue that Ledson was one who was somewhat unlucky to drop down to the bench.

That said, it was Pearson returning from another ban who displaced him.

Since his last start in the FA Cup against Doncaster seven weeks ago, Ledson has been on the bench for every game.

He got on the pitch twice, at Bolton as an 87th-minute replacement for Pearson and last Saturday in stoppage time against Millwall when he came on for Brad Potts.

Another midfield option for Neil to consider against Bristol City is Daniel Johnson.

Completely different to Pearson and Ledson, it would mean a tactical change and a switch of system.