Preston are waiting anxiously for news on the full extent of the knee injury suffered by Calum Woods in last night’s friendly against Oldham.
The right-back was carried off on a stretcher early in the 3-1 victory at Boundary Park after going in for a 50/50 challenge with Latics defender Jamie Reckford.
Ligament damage is feared to his right knee, probably to the medial ligament but also possibly to the cruciate.
Lilywhites manager Simon Grayson did not put any blame on Reckford for the tackle, admitting Woods might have been better pulling out of the challenge with it only being a friendly.
If Woods’ absence is to be long-term, it might very well be that North End make a dip into the transfer market to cover the right side of the defence.
Grayson said: “I think it going to be a few weeks with that one, if not longer, we don’t know yet.
“It was unfortunate, it was a 50/50 – their lad has gone in and Calum has gone in when he probably should have pulled out.
“But Calum doesn’t do that, he is a wholehearted player and has probably tweaked some ligaments in there.
“It all depends on the severity of it all and hopefully it isn’t months, just weeks and maybe even days.
“We spoke the other day with him about being careful at this stage of the pre-season with his tackles.
“Since I first met him at Huddersfield he has given his all and sometimes things like that happen. It was as the block has gone in, his knee has opened up with the medial ligament.
“There is potential for the medial ligament to be damaged like that, it could be his cruciate as well.
“I’m not saying that is what he has done but those sort of tackles can result in things like that because of the force they are both going in.”
Chris Humphrey came on as substitute for Woods, playing at right-back for much of the game before pushing further up the pitch when youngster Clive Smith came on later in the contest.
Asked if the transfer market was now a possibility, Grayson said: “I would have thought so and it might be a position we were looking at anyway.
“We have Chris Humphrey who can do you a job as a wing-back and possibly as a right-back, Liam Grimshaw as well.
“But if Calum is out, we might have to look at someone who is a bit more of a specialist.”
The injury aside, it was a decent night’s work for North End.
Goals from Eoin Doyle and Joe Garner (2) delivered the win which got them back on track after a 5-0 defeat to Fulham in Ireland last week.
Doyle put them 1-0 up in the first half, the Irishman playing well in a front three together with Simon Makienok and Callum Robinson.
After an hour, Garner joined the action from the bench and scored twice in quick succession, either side of Oldham’s consolation.