Ryan Lowe hoping for Preston North End injury boost against Blackburn Rovers

Preston North End’s Andrew HughesPreston North End’s Andrew Hughes
Preston North End’s Andrew Hughes | CameraSport - Alex Dodd
The PNE defender has missed the last month of games

Preston North End manager Ryan Lowe hopes to have Andrew Hughes back in the fold for Friday night’s clash at Blackburn Rovers.

The first Lancashire derby of the season takes place at Ewood Park, with North End set to be backed by a huge away following. On the team news front, Hughes will be the only potential returning Preston player. He has missed the last six matches, with Greg Cunningham stepping in for the games against Leicester City, Ipswich Town, Millwall and Southampton, before getting injured himself at Hull City.

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Kian Best came on for Cunningham at the MKM Stadium and then started in last weekend’s win over Coventry City. The youngster could well be called upon in the heart of defence again if Hughes - who has been out with a calf problem - is not fit to feature. Lowe, though, is optimistic about the Welshman’s chances.

“Yeah,” said Lowe, when asked if he is hoping to have the defender back for Friday. “He was hoping to be back (against Coventry). I spoke to Hughesy at length. We had to pull him back a bit. The medical team have been fantastic with him and putting the reins on me a little bit because, when you’ve got a quality left sided defender like Andrew Hughes, you want him to play every minute of every game. We’ve had to be cautious with the injury to make sure it doesn’t come back.”

Elsewhere on the injury front, loan man Calvin Ramsay is back with the club and working towards full fitness - having gone through his rehabiliation with parent club Liverpool. Ali McCann (calf) and Jack Whatmough (hamstring) are expected back after this month’s international break, while Emil Riis will likely be closer to Christmas for a return to action. Ahead of the Ewood Park meeting, Blackburn are enduring an injury crisis of their own - especially in defence.

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