Managing Sean Maguire’s workload will be the key to keeping the Preston striker fit, according to Alex Neil.
The 24-year-old returned to action in the FA Cup defeat to Doncaster on Sunday after a seven-week absence with a hamstring strain
He was a 74th-minute sub for Lukas Nmecha and while Maguire did not make much of an impact, PNE boss Neil was pleased to have the Republic of Ireland international back in the squad.
Neil said: “Sean’s general fitness is good, his base fitness very good due to the amount of running he does in training and matches.
“With Sean it is as much about injury prevention as anything else.
“We need to make sure we watch his load, make sure he doesn’t do too much with the amount of running. He will be a very welcome addition to the squad, Sean can play anywhere across the frontline as we’ve seen before.
“Last year he gave us goals, with his pace, movement and experience a big thing.”
Maguire, 24, was back from his second lay-off this season.
He missed the opening two months of the campaign with a hamstring injury suffered in the final pre-season friendly.
Returning at the start of October, Maguire got six PNE games under his belt but was then injured playing for the Republic of Ireland during the November international break.
With him having missed four months of last season too with a damaged hamstring tendon which needed surgery, North End will have to tread carefully with him.
“It is the same area but not the same injury, it is not a chronic injury,” said Neil.
“We are working with him in what he has to do and Sean has to learn to manage his body.”
Preston’s squad has been badly depleted by the long list of injuries lately.
However, Maguire’s return together with those of Alan Browne, Brandon Barker and Josh Earl against Doncaster, gave things a healthier look.
Browne and Barker came on ahead of Maguire in the FA Cup clash, and with another few days of training ahead of them should further bolster their fitness levels ahead of Saturday’s league meeting with Swansea at Deepdale.
Recent signings Jayden Stockley, Brad Potts and Josh Ginnelly are also available for the weekend.
Said Neil: “The lads who are back from injury will certainly be more ready for Swansea.
“We weren’t in a position to start them against Doncaster, we had targeted key minutes for them as the game wore on.
“It was good to have more players back.”
Meanwhile, PNE keeper Chris Maxwell’s loan move to Charlton Athletic is nearing completion.