Preston North End engine room’s ticking over says Ryan Lowe

Ryan Lowe is happy with the midfield choices available to him in Preston North End’s squad.

By Dave Seddon
Tuesday, 1st February 2022, 4:45 pm

The current absence of Daniel Johnson, who is away on international duty, has seen chances for Ali McCann and Ryan Ledson.

Johnson had been skipper Alan Browne’s regular partner as an attacking midfielder, with Ben Whiteman behind them in the deeper role.

Ledson got the nod to start at West Bromwich Albion last week in a slightly different midfield.

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Ali McCann pictured during the draw with Bristol City on Saturday

PNE manager Lowe also started Ledson against Bristol City at the weekend with McCann replacing him at half-time.

McCann’s only previous Championship start under Lowe had been at wing-back.

So it was good to see him back in the engine room where he had impressed since last August’s deadline-night move from St Johnstone.

Lowe said: “Ali, Ryan, Ben Whiteman, DJ and Browney have all got different types of quality, they are all very good footballers.

“There will be times when they have to be patient, just like Ali has been recently.

“All of them will get their opportunities with the games coming thick and fast.

“There is a lot of coaching to do with all of them, not just the midfield lads.

“We want the midfielders driving forward and sliding passes in.

“They have been used to playing different styles of football with different managers. They do get what we want and bits of it will take a bit of time.

“Sometimes they do good things, sometimes they will be a bit safe because they don’t want to give the ball away.”

Johnson flew off to join up with the Jamaica squad after the Swansea game. World Cup qualifiers are being played in the CONCACAF region and South America outside of the usual international breaks due to delays in the schedule caused by Covid.

The Premier League voted to have a break last weekend while the qualifying games were being played but the EFL chose to continue.

Jamaica have played two of their three qualifiers, with Johnson starting both.

He scored in the 2-1 defeat to Mexico in Kingston last Thursday and then played 56 minutes of Sunday night’s 3-2 loss to Panama.

The last of the qualifiers in this spell takes place on Wednesday night against Costa Rica, that game in Kingston.

Johnson should hopefully be back in England on Friday, in time to train with North End ahead of Saturday’s visit to Hull City.

Obviously he will have to 
be assessed after three games in a short space of time and all the travelling involved.