Preston North End injury round-up as five players pushing for returns after the break
PNE will hope to welcome players back after the international break - including Liverpool loan man Calvin Ramsay
Preston North End manager Ryan Lowe will hope to have his squad boosted after the international break, having been without a handful of senior players in recent weeks.
Here's a round-up of those currently on the sidelines, what has been said and when they could potentially return to the pitch for PNE.
It's been a frustrating six weeks for the Welshman, who is a key player for PNE when fit and played through the majority of last season with a shoulder issue. Having had that fixed over the summer, Hughes will have been eyeing a clear campaign. But, he has not featured since the West Bromwich Albion drubbing - with the last seven matches missed. The number 16 suffered a calf issue, which Preston have taken extra caution over to ensure it doesn't come back. Ryan Lowe expected to have him back for the Coventry game, but the defender missed that one and the derby night win at Blackburn Rovers. Having taken part in training sessions prior to the international break, Hughes should be back in action this month.
Snapped up from Wigan Athletic this summer, the defender will have been keen to make an impression at Deepdale. But, he had to bide his time in the early part of the season and then picked up another hamstring injury on his fourth league start - away to Ipswich. Whatmough had done well in his full Championship debut at Stoke, with some important contributions off the bench too. Ryan Lowe suggested the recovery from his previous hamstring problem hadn't been done quite right. He has been absent for five weeks now, but was back on the grass before the break and the PNE boss was hopeful of having him back soon.
PNE needed the Irishman to step up to the plate following injury to Hughes and he played five games on the bounce against Leicester, Ipswich, Millwall, Southampton and Hull City. In the final of those though, after playing three games in a week, Cunningham was forced off with a hamstring strain. The 32-year-old was set to miss a 'few weeks' - meaning he shouldn't be too far away when Preston get back to work next week.
It's now a case of getting the Liverpool loan man up to speed, having been dealt another knee injury in pre-season and gone back to his parent club for rehabilitation. Ramsay returned to PNE earlier this month and played 45 minutes in the Central League against Accrington Stanley. He is raring to make his debut, but Lowe has stressed the importance of building the Scot up and getting him match ready.
McCann has had a tough time of it with injuries this year. He was ruled out the last few months of last season and then picked up a niggle at the start of this campaign, before suffering the calf issue which has sidelined him for the last six weeks. Midfield is an area where it is important to rotate, so McCann has been missed and his return will hopefully come in time for the hectic festive schedule. Lowe will provide an update on McCann next week, but the most recent verdict was that the Northern International will be pushing for a return late November.
The Dane has had a torrid 2023 and Preston fans can't wait to see him back in action. Clattering in to those advertising boards at Stoke has seen him miss the entire year pretty much. A return in September was said to be on the cards, but a further issue with Riis' knee was discovered and he's now aiming to be back around Christmas time. Lowe said earlier this month that the striker was 'in a better place' for the clear out.