Preston North End boss Ryan Lowe discusses midfield options with Manchester United man causing dilemma

Preston North End manager Ryan Lowe insists that no place in his side is secure after gaps have opened up over recent weeks.
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Ali McCann was ruled out for the season in the wake of the Luton Town draw last week, with Ben Woodburn given the starting spot at Hull City.

Lowe has spoken about his options in the middle of midfield in the past, with Daniel Johnson and Josh Onomah both options he could have used at the MKM Stadium. But with Woodburn given the nod at Hull, there’s reason to suggest that it is his place to lose – though that isn’t the case.

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"It doesn't work like that,” Lowe said. “I work off who we're playing against and what that game suits. Whether it's a game for running eights or clever eights, it depends what way we go with it.

Preston North End manager Ryan Lowe shouts instructions to his team from the technical areaPreston North End manager Ryan Lowe shouts instructions to his team from the technical area
Preston North End manager Ryan Lowe shouts instructions to his team from the technical area

"Every training session is an opportunity for someone to showcase their ability to get into the team and that's what I've done. I've said to the lads that Ali will be out for a while so it's a shootout.

"We've got, at the moment, Ben Woodburn, DJ, Alan Browne and Josh Onomah who will all fight it out for those eight positions. Only two can play but they have to show me what they can do in training, make sure their attitude and application is spot on, which it always is, and then when you're given an opportunity, make sure you take it.

“There are some good eights in there and some good players that can perform at the top level. That's what we want so whoever is called upon has the opportunity to go out there and be the best that they can be and keep their place in the team.”

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Another option in the middle of the park could be found slightly further afield, more specifically to the left side. Robbie Brady has played in midfield on several occasions so far this season for PNE, registering an assist from a central role in a win against Norwich City.

The Irishman has been on the bench of late, in part due to the form of Alvaro Fernandez who has been a good outlet for North End, and Lowe has not ruled out fitting both players in.

He said: “Robbie is an option there. And he's a good option there. He's played there before, it's funny, me and Robbie were talking about that the other day, different positions. I like Robbie as a wing back because he has the qualities that can put the ball on the money but he's also got the quality to be an inside one. He's definitely an option.

“Robbie had a little niggle the other week with his hamstring so we had to manage him with that, he's waited to get back into the team, is fully fit and raring to go. But when people come into the team and do well you just have to bide your time. Him and Alvaro have had good competition down that left hand side all season. But there are other options to play him in different positions.”