Preston North End's on-loan Cardiff winger Josh Murphy delivers fitness boost

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Preston North End manager Ryan Lowe is looking forward to finally seeing Josh Murphy back on the pitch.

The on-loan winger has been sidelined throughout Lowe’s time in charge.

Murphy, 26, tore an ankle ligament in October during Frankie McAvoy’s reign.

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He returned to training soon after Lowe took the helm but then suffered a calf injury.

Preston North End's on-loan winger Josh MurphyPreston North End's on-loan winger Josh Murphy
Preston North End's on-loan winger Josh Murphy

There is light at the end of the tunnel in terms of his fitness, with Murphy having been back in training over the last week or so.

Lowe says there is a chance of Murphy being in contention for Saturday’s visit to Coventry, while a reserve game next week will provide a chance to get match fitness under his belt.

Having Murphy back soon would provide Lowe with another option up front or in a wing-back role, with his pace a big asset.

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Lowe told the Lancashire Post: “I know about Josh, know what he can do but I haven’t seen him play many games of football – I haven’t seen him play any for us.

“What I have seen from him in training in the last few days is that he can definitely give us something.

“He’s an option for us and has certainly got talent.

“We want players fit and available but since I arrived in the building, Josh hasn’t been available to me.

“Now we have got him back to fitness, hopefully we can get him match fit so that he can be involved in the remaining games.”

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He was signed on a season’s loan from Cardiff City on transfer deadline day last August.

During September and early October, Murphy came off the bench in seven league games but didn’t make a start.

He had already featured in the Carabao Cup for Cardiff so that competition didn’t provide him with the chance to play at North End.

His ankle ligament injury occurred in training shortly before October’s derby clash with Blackpool.

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It was coming back from that injury when he damaged a calf in training.

Murphy was one of four of last summer’s recruits to have suffered long-term injuries.

Izzy Brown, Matthew Olosunde and Connor Wickham were all injured early in their stays.

Brown’s ruptured Achilles tendon is likely to keep him sidelined all season, while Olosunde returned to action in December but is currently not registered in North End’s senior squad.

Connor Wickham moved on in January at the end of a short-term deal and is now with MK Dons.