McCann, Whiteman, Brady and the Preston North End injury news for Swansea City

Preston North End host Swansea City in the Championship this weekend and manager Ryan Lowe has provided an injury update
Preston North End's Ali McCann and Ben Whiteman Preston North End's Ali McCann and Ben Whiteman
Preston North End's Ali McCann and Ben Whiteman

Preston North End manager Ryan Lowe hopes to have Ali McCann back involved for this weekend’s match against Swansea City.

The Northern Ireland international was absent from last Saturday’s win at Sheffield Wednesday, due to a minor hamstring concern. McCann had started the previous two Championship matches and was replaced by Duane Holmes at Hillsborough.

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PNE are light on numbers though in the early part of the season and Lowe will welcome every boost he can get. McCann is likely to be the only player back in the fold for the Deepdale clash, though Ben Whiteman is back in part-training after missing all of pre-season.

“Ali McCann is back training and Ben Whiteman is part training, so we’ll see how he goes today and tomorrow,” said Lowe on Thursday morning. “I’m glad to have Ali back after his little knock and it’s nice to see Whitey back on the grass with us today. Our target was for next week (with Whiteman) and he’s above that at the moment,

“There’s still a lot of work to do, but it’s just nice to have him back on the grass, with the lads, because Ben is one of those players who wants to be in and around it. We’ll see how he recovers and then just keep building him up.

“The rest will probably be after the international break and the quicker we get them back, the better we will be. Robbie is on the grass now. He’s fine, but we’ve taken a bit longer with him because it was the third time he’d had a calf issue and you don’t want that continuing. If you asked Rob now, he’s ready to play Saturday, but in mine and the physio’s eyes he is not.”

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With regards to the timing of Whiteman’s operation, Lowe was asked whether he would’ve liked it to have been done earlier. PNE’s 2022/23 campaign finished on May 8th but the number four did not undergo surgery until a couple of months later.

“I think he had the operation on the 7th July,” said Lowe. “We wanted to make sure he had the right procedures so that he wouldn’t go back to having the same thing. We just got it done and he’s right and ready now, fighting fit. It was out of our hands because I’m not the physio or the specialist, so I don’t know. I will leave that down to Jacko and his team, who I trust, and the specialists

“It is their decision. There were a few complications with it beforehand, which meant it didn’t materialise I think. I don’t know, but I just got told he’s having his operation and will be back on this date. We had to move on with it quickly and we’ve done that. To see him back on the grass with us today is a big bonus really.”

Emil Riis’ return is highly anticipated too. PNE’s top goal scorer from 2021/22 suffered a serious knee injury back in January, but is seeing light at the end of the tunnel and targeting a comeback next month - all being well.

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“He has got in his head the Plymouth Argyle game, on September 16th,” said Lowe. “If we get him back for that it will be a massive bonus. Emil has worked so hard over the past seven or eight months, it’s unbelievable, so credit where it is due to him. He’s like a trojan; he looks bigger and stronger, but he wants to play football and score goals - that’s what he loves doing.

“Once he is fit and available and he’s ticked all the boxes, he’ll be available for selection. He’s a good player and when you have someone of that ilk, you want them available as quickly as possible, but we are mindful he’ll need to get up to speed.”

Layton Stewart is another player yet to feature for PNE this season. The young striker, signed permanently from Liverpool this summer, has been put on an individual plan to get him more ready for first-team football in the Championship.

“No, Layton has been on a bit of a program,” said Lowe, when asked if the player has picked up a knock. “We were disappointed in terms of his physicality. Some of these young kids who come from 18s and 21s football - everything is rosy and easy, but you are in a man’s league now. Layton’s ability is different class and his goal scoring is very, very good - it is one of the best I’ve seen.

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“But, we needed to build him up and get him stronger. One leg was stronger than the other and stuff like that, which is bizarre really. We’ve had to get both legs stronger, his body stronger, his core stronger. When we did the medical, we knew we had to build him up. And Layton has been on a program of doing that, so he’s looking fitter and stronger.

“There is no real rush with him, but we feel when we get him back after this, it will be better for him and for us. We looked at him in some of the games and he was a bit lightweight. He wasn’t running smoothly, but we’ve got him in a good place now. Hopefully in the next couple of weeks - probably after the international break - we’ll see him in and around us. He is a project wasn’t he? I said that when we signed him.”

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