Preston midfielder Ali McCann making good progress after picking up ankle injury against QPR

Frankie McAvoy doesn’t expect Ali McCann’s absence from the Preston North End squad to stretch beyond another fortnight.

Saturday, 16th October 2021, 8:00 am

The midfielder, signed from St Johnstone for £1.2m on transfer deadline day, hurt his ankle playing against Queens Park Rangers before the international break.

He’s been responding to treatment and PNE head coach McAvoy says the aim is to have him back in training quite soon.

The international break has afforded McCann some recovery time without missing any North End games so far.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Ali McCann

However, today’s clash with Derby County in which North End fans will pay their respects to Trevor Hemmings at Deepdale, is one McCann won’t be involved in.

McAvoy said: “Ali is not far off, maybe a couple of weeks.

“The physio team have worked tremendously hard with him.

“He’s got the protective boot off, he’s walking fine now and it’s just a case of making sure the ankle is stable enough before he comes back into training.

“When Ali does start training, he won’t be far away.

“He won’t make this weekend but he’s not far off.”

The QPR match was McCann’s first Championship start after coming off the bench five times.

His one previous time in the starting XI came in the Carabao Cup win against Cheltenham Town.

That defeat at QPR saw North End rack-up the casualties, with Sean Maguire and Patrick Bauer also injured.

Bauer was set to return to the defence today against the Rams, with Maguire possibly involved.

If Maguire doesn’t make it this afternoon, he should be back in the games ahead.

Said McAvoy: “We will give Sean every opportunity to get himself ready.

“We’ve got Scotty Sinclair back now, he’s over his illness and Tom Barkhuizen is back.

“There’s Josh Murphy to come in, we’ve got Emil Riis so we’ve got a few options in a position where we were struggling a bit.”

Summer signing Matthew Olosunde is now back training with the squad although isn’t ready for match action yet.

The reserve game against Bolton on October 26 could see him return to action.

McAvoy said: “Matthew has been on the field with us, he’s taken part in training.

“We have been gradually feeding him into the training sessions, a bit at a time.

“It’s been great to have back with the squad, Matthew is a mashing lad.

“When players are injured you have to bare careful, not be tempted to put them in too quickly.

“Matthew has been well looked after and should be good to go soon.”

Support us and become a subscriber today. Enjoy unlimited access to local news, the latest football stories and new puzzles every day. With a digital subscription, you can see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Click here to subscribe.