Preston manager Alex Neil hopes his latest warning to Ben Pearson will be heeded by the combative midfielder after his most recent suspension.
Pearson will return to the PNE squad for tomorrow’s clash with Swansea having sat out four games for a red card at Sheffield Wednesday before Christmas.
The 24-year-old is one of a number of players who will swell Neil’s selection options to face the Swans at Deepdale.
Neil has been blunt with Pearson about his reputation for getting on the wrong side of referees.
“Ben needs to get his finger out and make sure he stops getting suspensions, it’s as simple as that,” said Neil.
“He is aware of that, I have spoken to him at length and he has got a point to prove.
“Ben needs to show people how good a footballer he is and that he can control himself on the pitch, stop getting himself sent off.”
Pearson’s red card against Wednesday was his second dismissal of the season, hence the longer ban.
North End did appeal but the sending-off was upheld by the FA.
Said Neil: “I think people were pretty split on whether it was a sending-off or not.
“Some people I spoke to said it was a sending-off, some thought it was a bit harsh.
“You can understand why he was sent off because he gave the referee a decision to make.
“If that was Daniel Johnson or Paul Gallagher making the tackle, I don’t think it would have been a sending-off.
“Knowing Ben, he probably had given the ref an earful five minutes before.
“He needs to learn from that because it has happened far too often.”
As well as Pearson coming back, January signings Brad Potts, Jayden Stockley, Josh Ginnelly and Connor Ripley are eligible for the first time.
Alan Browne, Sean Maguire, Brandon Barker and Josh Earl who all made the bench for last week’s FA Cup defeat to Doncaster, will have benefitted from another few days’ training.
Bearing all that in mind, the matchday squad will have a much different look than it has done over Christmas and New Year.
Neil said: “I had 20 senior players for training the other day, plus two younger kids to make up an 11-versus-11.
“We had got to the stage where we were inviting six or seven of the kids to support the squad.
“The kids are really good players but what we need now is the experienced lads back to push us on.
“We need to get ourselves on a good run again, we need to pick up some good points and put good performances in.
“That should all, hopefully, with getting a lot of players back.”