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Preston midfielder Ryan Ledson is back to bolster midfield option after three-game suspension)

Preston North End's Ryan Ledson
Preston North End's Ryan Ledson

Alex Neil is pleased to be able to welcome Ryan Ledson back into the Preston squad after suspension.

The midfielder has served a three-match ban for a red card against Leeds United in the League Cup last month.

With the international break having come during the suspension, it seems an age since 21-year-old Ledson was available.

He got his marching orders for a reckless tackle on Lewis Baker in the 2-0 win at Elland Road on August 28.

It is an incident which PNE boss Neil hopes Ledson will learn his lesson from.

Neil told the Post: “The one thing with Ryan is that he will give you everything he has got.

“Technically he can use the ball well and shift it across.

“He can put in a tackle, sometimes too much as we saw the other week.

“Ryan will certainly add something to the squad, at the moment we need that fighting spirit.”

Ledson’s ban overlapped with that of Ben Pearson, the player he was signed to act as competition for in the sitting midfield role.

Pearson completes his own three-match suspension this weekend having been sent-off after the final whistle of the 2-2 draw with Bolton earlier in the month.

Neil thinks that with age and experience, Ledson will manage himself better in the heat of the battle than he did in the Leeds cup clash.

He uses former North End midfielder John Welsh to highlight the point.

Said Neil: “Other players go into challenges like Ryan does.

“Look at John Welsh, I’m certain that when he was a younger player he flew into more tackles than he did in his time here.

“When John was with us, he knew when to go in for a tackle and when not to.

“That will be the case with Ryan, he will learn that as his career develops.”

Ledson’s ban means that game time has been limited since his summer move from Oxford United.

He has started three games in the Championship and two League Cup ties, coming off the bench once.

Neil will be hoping that North End’s fortunes on the pitch can improve as they get players back available.

The squad took a hit from injuries to Sean Maguire and Billy Bodin on the eve of the season.

Bans for Paul Gallagher, Ledson and Pearson followed, while Alan Browne sat out last week’s defeat to Reading with a calf strain.

“The absences have hit us, there is no doubt about that,” said Neil.

“I remember talking after the West Ham friendly in July how well we were set-up and we were looking comfortable.

“It shows how quickly things can change in football.”