Ben's on the mend for PNE

Ben Pearson is ready to bolster Preston's midfield options against Fulham this weekend '“ but the right-back slot will continue to pose a problem.

Thursday, 2nd March 2017, 5:00 am
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 11:11 am
Preston midfielder Ben Pearson has shaken off a slight groin strain

Pearson missed the 2-1 win over QPR last Saturday with a slight groin strain.

The 22-year-old has been back in training this week and is on course to be fit to play at Craven Cottage.

But it will be a case of make do and mend at right-back though, with four players in that position out injured.

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Updating the situation with Pearson, North End boss Simon Grayson said: “Ben has come through this week’s training so far.

“He will be available for 
selection, which gives us a nice option in midfield.

“When Ben was injured, we always felt he would be back for Fulham and that is looking like being the case.”

In his absence for the QPR game, there was a recall for Daniel Johnson in the centre of midfield alongside Alan Browne.

Pearson’s importance to the team sees him likely to go straight back into the engine room for the Gentry Day clash.

Against QPR, Grayson chose to start with a 3-4-1-2 system in a bid to navigate around having no right-back available.

Tyias Browning joined Alex Baptiste, Marnick Vermijl and Calum Woods on the injured list.

With North End having struggled with the formation in the first half, Grayson went 4-4-2 in the second with Greg Cunningham in an emergency right-back role.

The Irishman being asked to do that again from the start is certainly an option.

Said Grayson: “We won’t have anyone back from injury in terms of playing right-back.

“Do we go and play the system with wing-backs or do we go with the flat back four we finished with? It is something we will deal with.

“The injured lads are making progress but we will not have a right-back available for Saturday.

“I thought Greg showed his versatility against QPR – he is a good defender and composed on the ball.

“Playing right-back, he had a couple of opportunities to score, which was pleasing.

“That is not a surprise as Greg’s natural game is to go forward when he gets a chance.

“If we have to play Greg at right-back we will do. If we go with the other system, we will do that.”

Ticket sales for the trip to Fulham are around the 2,600 mark and tickets can still be bought at Deepdale.

Fans are reminded that tickets brought on the day at Craven Cottage will be £5 more than if purchased in advance.

That increase applies to all age categories apart from the junior tickets, which remain at £5.