Preston North End midfielder Ben Pearson could be forced to sit out trip to QPR
Ben Pearson is an early doubt for Preston North End’s trip to Queens Park Rangers tomorrow night.
The midfielder struggled through the closing minutes of Sunday’s defeat to Cardiff with a groin injury.
North End had used their three substitutes by then and Pearson stayed on the pitch.
At first glance it looked like he had pulled up with cramp but it was concerning enough for him to be sent for a scan.
Lilywhites manager Alex Neil said: “Initially I thought it might have been cramp.
“Looking at him after the game, though, it looks like he might have hurt himself in some way or form.
“It is his groin which is the problem, he opened it up and was toiling a bit.
“Sometimes niggles can settle down 24- to 48 hours after a game. We are getting it scanned and we’ll know more when that has been done.”
Although Pearson has not hit top note yet this season, Neil will be keen to have him involved against QPR.
The 25-year-old is the shield in front of the back four and a lot of North End’s play goes through him.
If tomorrow’s game comes too soon, though, the midfield is perhaps PNE’s best staffed area of the squad.
Ryan Ledson could play the Pearson role having operated further forward this season.
Against Cardiff, Neil had Daniel Johnson and Paul Gallagher as unused subs.
Either of those two could play next to Ledson, or there could be a reshuffle with Alan Brown dropping deeper to allow Johnson to play as North End’s No.10.
On the fitness front, Darnell Fisher is not ready for a return yet but Neil does not think he is too far away.
The right-back pulled his hamstring is training three weeks ago, just a few days after scoring his first PNE goal in the 2-2 draw with Norwich.
Neil said: “Darnell is making good progress.
“He is back on the grass now but not quite training with us yet.
“I don’t think it will be too long until he is back involved.”
As North End build up to the visit to QPR, Neil could be forgiven for being relieved that they are back on the road.
His side have lost all three league games at home this season, in contrast to four points being picked up from their two away games.
They also have an away day on Saturday, crossing the Pennines to face Huddersfield Town.
Said Neil: “Sometimes we have struggled at home when teams sit behind the ball.
“Cardiff are a good defensive unit and the first goal in their games is always important.
“At the weekend in the Championship, there was only one home win, which is an interesting statistic.”