Preston North End manager faces big selection call for the Championship clash with Cardiff City

Ryan Lowe will have a big selection call to make in Preston North End’s back line for tomorrow’s trip to Cardiif City.

By Dave Seddon
Friday, 11th March 2022, 8:00 am

The PNE manager has Patrick Bauer and Liam Lindsay back in contention but they have the imposing figure of Bambo Diaby standing between them and a recall.

Diaby made his full North End debut in last week’s 2-1 win over Bournemouth, a game Bauer missed through injury and Lindsay because of suspension.

So Lowe must decide whether to stick or twist for the clash in South Wales, the type of decision managers like to have rather than be short of bodies.

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Preston North End defender Bambo Diaby celebrates at the end of the victory over Bournemouth at Deepdale

Lowe said: “Patrick has been back on the training field and Liam is available after suspension. That is what you want, a fully-fit squad to select from.

"I’ll pick what I think is the team which gives us the best chance of winning the game and make sure we have enough strength and depth on the bench.

"If people have to miss out that is the way it falls, that’s football.

"When you have a lot of defenders available and people have come in and done well, it’s tough making a decision.

Preston North End centre-half Patrick Bauer

"It’s my job to explain to people when they don’t play why that is, reassure them, get their chin up.

"When you win and play well, it isn’t always the case that the team will stay the same.”

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There’s a vacancy in the matchday squad from the Bournemouth game, with Josh Murphy dropping out as he can’t play against his parent club Cardiff.

Sean Maguire will travel having played 45 minutes in the reserves in midweek against Liverpool, that coming after a five-week lay-off with an ankle injury.

The Irishman hasn’t had much of a look in under Lowe but is a player the North End boss admires.

"Seani is a very good link-up player, he likes to drop into those little pockets to link it,” said Lowe.

"When I first came in I said that I need more goals from him because strikers are judged on goals.

"Can Seani score goals in this team? Of course he can.”

Lowe admitted the plan was to give Maguire a slightly longer run in the Liverpool game but PNE’s poor performance put paid to that.

"I wanted him to play a bit more but he wasn’t getting anything out of the game,” said Lowe.

"It was windy, he wasn’t getting on the end of the balls forward because of the conditions, so rather than risk him I took him off at half-time.

"They weren’t linking up play well, the team didn’t play as well as I would have liked.

"Josh Murphy was a bit different, he played the 90 minutes because he’s not available this weekend.

"It was 45 minutes in the tank for Seani but he probably would have been better off training with us instead.”