Preston North End rivals Millwall dealt another key injury blow ahead of Deepdale visit

Preston North End rivals Millwall hit with another telling injury blow ahead of Deepdale head-to-head
Ryan Leonard will miss Millwall’s trip to Preston on SaturdayRyan Leonard will miss Millwall’s trip to Preston on Saturday
Ryan Leonard will miss Millwall’s trip to Preston on Saturday

Millwall have been handed another injury blow ahead of their trip to Preston on Saturday.

Lions boss Gary Rowett has confirmed utility man Ryan Leonard will be forced to miss the game at Deepdale because of a cracked bone in his knee.

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The setback comes just days after Millwall learned that striking duo Kevin Nisbet and Duncan Watmore - both out with hamstring injuries - will play no part against Ryan Lowe’s side. They joined an injury list that already included Matijc Sarkic, Shaun Hutchinson and Ryan Longman.

Despite playing through the pain against Hull last time out, it’s believed Leonard picked up the injury in the Londoners’ 2-0 win at Plymouth on October 3. The 31-year-old club stalwart has been a key player for Millwall, starting their past eight Championship games. The former Sheffield United player has featured 12 times in all competitions this term.

Rowe told South London Press: ‘He’s got a cracked bone in his knee. We think he did it against Plymouth. He had an incident where he went down against Plymouth, but he managed to get through the whole game. He felt sore afterwards. It looks likely he will need a bit of rest and then see where it is. It’s a couple of weeks rest. That’s the general feeling with it. It’s not ideal, but it could have been worse.’

Millwall travel to Deepdale 15th in the table after an inconsistent start to the season. They’re currently five points behind Lowe’s third-placed team (20 points) who are looking to end a three-game losing streak on their return after the international break.

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Rowett conceded Leonard’s absence will do them no favours at Deepdale.

He added: ‘Lenny is the one you can use in a different position and you can then revert back – he gives you the ability to change formation without changing the team. It’s nice to have the flexibility, but it’s also nice to have someone performing at a very, very high level.

‘At centre-back, he has been as good as anyone in that position – he can deal with pace, and movement and he can step in and join in. When he is fit and available, he’s as good as anyone in the team. He gives you that Premier League athleticism and power, which isn’t easy to find.’

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