Ryan Ledson primed for opportunity in Preston team following Ben Pearson’s suspension

Alex Neil accepts that Ryan Ledson has been unfortunate not to get more appearances in Preston’s midfield.

Saturday, 2nd March 2019, 5:00 am

The PNE boss’ explanation for that is a straight forward one, in that Ledson has Ben Pearson for competition for the holding midfield role.

Pearson’s two-match ban which starts today against Bristol City and continues for next week’s derby clash with Blackburn, could open the door for Ledson.

The 21-year-old has started eight Championship matches and come off the bench nine times.

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Preston North End's Ryan Ledson

He’s also started three FA Cup games and a League Cup tie in a North End shirt.

Neil told the Post:“The most frustrating thing for Ryan is that Ben Pearson is here and playing.

“I’ve that about a few other players in other positions.

“Ryan is a good player, we have brought him in and he’s played quite a few games to be fair.

“I still think he is learning his trade at this level so we have to be patient.

“I’d probably describe Ryan more down the route of John Welsh than Ben Pearson.

“Ryan is a wholehearted player who gets stuck in and is physical.

“He is one you don’t want to be trifling with if the ball drops in the middle.

“I don’t think Ryan was an out and out ‘six’ before he came to us.

“That is where we have had to do work with him in terms of being familiar with the role and understanding positions he needs to pick up without the ball.

“It is something which he has improved on, he has also improved on the ball.

“Ryan is a work in progress at the moment but he is one who comes into consideration this weekend.”

Neil felt that Ledson was more a midfield all-rounder at Oxford United, the club who North End signed him from last summer.

It is more of a deeper role where Neil sees his future.

“When I watched him play for Oxford, he played as part of a midfield two,” said Neil.

“Sometimes he would be deeper, sometimes he was breaking beyond, sometimes he was out on the wing.

“I wouldn’t say Ryan had a specific position but I like my players to have a specific role.”

It begs the question as to whether Ledson and Pearson could play in the same team.

Neil believes there will be circumstances when they can but not just now.

The Scot said: “With Ben and Ryan you would have two players who don’t naturally attack.

“That would give us one less player at the top end of the pitch.

“There would certain games but at this stage of the season I wouldn’t say it would be a regular thing.”