Preston North End hope to have Daniel Johnson ready for clash with Terriers

Preston manager Alex Neil hopes to be able to call on the services of Daniel Johnson at Huddersfield tomorrow after the midfielder ‘ran himself into the ground’ on his return to action.

Friday, 23rd October 2020, 8:00 am
Updated Friday, 23rd October 2020, 9:00 am

Johnson played 73 minutes of Wednesday night’s 2-0 win at Queens Park Rangers before succumbing to cramp.

He scored PNE’s opening goal from the penalty spot and added a creative layer to the midfield.

The 28-year-old’s only slice of action this season before the QPR clash was 15 minutes as a substitute at Derby in the Carabao Cup last month.

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PNE midfielder Daniel Johnson is treated for cramp at QPR by physio Matt Jackson

Neil said: “DJ has not done much training because he injured his groin. His season has been really disrupted.

“He ran himself into the ground against QPR, his high-intensity running stats were through the roof.”

All being well, yesterday’s rest day and this morning’s training session should get him in shape for the trip to the John Smith’s Stadium.

It is another away day for PNE who have travelled well this season, picking up seven points from a possible nine.

Neil thinks having Johnson back fit will be a boost as they try to find their form at home.

They are back at Deepdale next Wednesday night against Millwall before hosting Birmingham a week tomorrow.

Said Neil: “The away form has been good and we have another away game against Huddersfield to focus on.

“I know I need to get the balance better at home, we have lacked a bit of creativity.

“I think DJ coming back into the fold automatically helps that.

“We can only try and win the next game, that is where the focus is.

“We’ve won two out of the last three, some people like to fling stats out saying you’ve only won this and that out of so many.

“It’s one loss out of the last eight away games in the league.”

Neil was without both Ben Davies and Ben Pearson at QPR through injury and has given no clues on return dates.

“I’ve no update on those two, they just weren’t available because they have been injured,” said Neil.

The North End boss will be looking for Emil Riis to have as big an impact at Huddersfield as he made against QPR.

Neil was delighted with the Danish striker after handing him his first start.

“You saw that he was rapid, he’s a quick lad,” said Neil.

“In the Cardiff game, Tom Barkhuizen slid the ball down the side for him and he clocked our fastest time this season.

“He gives us a target and just needs to keep the ball alive for the other boys.

“When teams squeeze the line he can run in behind. He has got nimble feet and can shift his weight really quickly.”