Preston North End midfielder Ben Pearson nearing full fitness but no games for him to return to

Ben Pearson’s name did the rounds in the aftermath of football’s shutdown due to coronavirus being announced.

Sunday, 15th March 2020, 6:00 am
Preston midfielder Ben Pearson with PNE manager Alex Neil

‘Well at least Pearo will be fit by the time we resume’ was a reaction I heard several times from Preston North End supporters.

The midfielder is not far off being fit after a hamstring injury and with the April 3 date for the resumption of football looking optimistic to say the least, Pearson will have had plenty of time to work on his fitness when things do get underway.

North End boss Alex Neil spoke on the subject at his pre-match press conference last Thursday.

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Ben Pearson challenges West Bromwich Albion's Hal Robson-Kanu

At that stage, the visit to Luton was still on and while Pearson would not have made that one, there was a hope he would be back far sooner than the month’s absence which had first been mooted.

Neil said: “Ben’s good, he is doing better than expected at the moment.

“We are hopeful he won’t miss as many games as we thought he might.”

North End were going to be guided by how Pearson felt and they were getting good vibes off him.

Said Neil: “We are not the type of club that looks at a player and says ‘You have a little scrape on his ankle, that will be two weeks and we will wait two weeks whatever happens’.

“We will always work off how the player feels.

“If he feels he can come back and play, knowing his own body, we will get him playing as quickly as possible within reason.”

As things have worked out, there will be no need for Pearson to make a quicker than expected recovery.

Football’s stoppage is three weeks minimum and could be much longer as we wait for the Covid-19 pandemic to peak and then start falling.

Pearson felt his hamstring during the 2-0 defeat at West Bromwich on February 25.

He missed the defeats to Fulham and Queens Park Rangers, and would have sat out Luton too.

Perhaps Cardiff would have come too soon but the Derby game was a possibility.

Once Pearson completes his rehabilitation, like the rest of his team-mates he will have to tick over until the time comes for football to kick-off again.