Preston North End boss Alex Neil discusses the high number of injuries in the Lilywhites squad

Alex Neil thinks Preston North End have been unlucky with their current crop of injuries rather than there being one obvious cause.

Monday, 9th December 2019, 11:45 am
Preston manager Alex Neil

The Lilywhites face Fulham on Tuesday night having lost their previous four matches, injuries hitting the squad hard in the last three of those.

At Queens Park Rangers last Saturday, defenders Patrick Bauer, Ben Davies and Darnell Fisher were missing, together with midfield pair Paul Gallagher and Daniel Johnson.

Speaking at Springfields on Monday morning to look ahead to Fulham's visit to Deepdale, PNE manager Neil said: "We spoke at the start of the season about wanting to keep as many players fit as we can, that gives up better options, strength in numbers.

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Paul Gallagher and Patrick Bauer have been two of Preston North End's casualties

"When you lose a number of players, particularly in similar positions - we've lost two centre-backs and two technical midfield players - it can do a bit of damage because they are the building blocks to how we play."

At the end of last season, Neil commissioned an outside audit to assess all aspects of fitness and injuries at the club, that on the back of being hit with a couple of injury pile-ups at different stages of the campaign.

Neil points out that many of the current injuries are short-term ones rather than anything too lengthy and the amount of hamstring strains have reduced from last year.

"This season has been different to others by the fact it has been niggly ones rather than longer-term injuries which are the issue," said Neil.

Preston midfielder Daniel Johnson is sidelined by a knee injury

"We had a lot of hamstrings before and that has settled down this season.

"A lot of the injuries we've had have been contact injuries, off the top of my head almost every injury we've had have been in games rather than happening in training.

"We have come down off them a little bit this season, we don't train for as long as we did before.

"Teams pick up injuries all the time, we have just been unfortunate they have come in the same areas of the team. That has hurt us."

Neil revealed Gallagher's injury which has kept him out of the last two games is an issue with his Achilles tendon.

Whether he is back in time to face Fulham, remains to be seen.

Neil said: Gally's Achilles has been playing up a little bit. He had a jab in it the other day just to settle it down.

"It is one of those, how long is a piece of string?

"He could be fine in two or three days or it could be next week. It is when that pain dissipates and Gally feels he can move about the pitch freely."