Double injury blow changes Alex Neil's Preston North End shopping list

Alex Neil says Preston will be '˜broadening their horizons' in the transfer market after the long-term injuries suffered by Billy Bodin and Sean Maguire.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 2nd August 2018, 6:00 am

Until the double blow, PNE manager Neil was focusing his efforts on landing a targetman striker ahead of the deadline.

But replacing Maguire’s pace up front and what Bodin brings from the wing might see a change of tack.

Maguire will be sidelined for two months, damage to a hamstring tendon having been confirmed by a scan.

Preston winger Billy Bodin is facing six months out with a knee ligament injury

For Bodin, a knee ligament injury suffered in training on Tuesday morning could keep him out for six months.

Neil said: “We have been targeting players, we’ll be looking to do business before the end of the window, no question about that.

“Our plans have got to be altered because our pace in terms of what Sean offered is now missing for a while.

“I’m not saying wholesale changes but what I think we have got to do is broaden our horizons in terms of what we are looking at.

“With Billy, we have got three in that position in Daryl Horgan, Callum Robinson and Tom Barkhuizen.

“Graham Burke could play there at a push, Josh Harrop could also do that at a push.

“But I would probably say we are one down.”

Neil confirmed that a lot of the summer had seen him looking at potential frontmen for the targetman role.

It might be that they still continue down that path as well as trying to fill the gaps left by Maguire and Bodin.

“We have been looking for a targetman for most of the summer and to be honest were getting that narrowed down,” said Neil.

“Now we have lost our key pace at the top end of the pitch in Sean and the trickery off the flank with Billy. They weren’t areas we were focused on 

“People might say we should have prepared for this, should have prepared for that.

“That fact is there was no point signing another player who can do what someone can do because one of them would have been sat in the stand.”

A scan revealed Maguire had damaged a tendon which attaches the hamstring to the bone, with Bodin having torn his anterior cruciate ligament.

Bodin’s injury was due to a freak incident in training.

Said Neil: “What happened is that Billy planted his foot down, there was no one really near him – one of the lads was two yards away.

“His foot just stuck, he went to turn and you heard something go.

“What you heard was the ligament being damaged.

“It was his ACL and that is devastating for Billy.

“We’d worked hard with him in the summer to get him to the point he was at. Sean was in the same boat.”