Simon Grayson is keeping an open mind over the fitness of Keith Keane and Lee Holmes for Saturday’s trip to Carlisle.
Speaking to PNE.Com ahead of the Lilywhites’ trip north, the manager was still unsure on whether the midfielder-cum-full back would be available as he is in need of a hernia operation, with Holmes being the biggest doubt as he tries to shake of a hamstring injury.
“Keith has seen a specialist,” said Simon.
“We are just waiting to see the outcome of that.
We are not sure if he is going to be available for the weekend in terms of having the operation already or if he will be in terms of putting it back until next week, so we will see over the next couple of days.
“Other lads have a few knocks and bruises but we have got a good squad to choose from and as I said many times, if those lads who played on Tuesday night are not fit then we have got other lads who are chomping at the bit to get into the team and sometimes it is not a bad time to come into the team when you have won back to back games.
“Confidence is high and it lets you settle in a bit quicker and I want to see one or two more players from now until the end of the season.
“I don’t want to be chopping and changing it too much because we want to win every game.
“Keith has shown with his performances that it is not hindering him at all.
“He got through the game the other night and he looked as strong as he did in the first minute as he did in the last minute.
“It is just something that needs to be done and we are thinking that we are in a position where we are safe in the division and if we can get it done earlier rather than later then his rehab can take an extended period of time because it gives us the option to do that.
"Keano is chomping at the bit to probably play all the games between now and the end of the season and I think his performances have warranted that.
“Lee Holmes is ok.
“He is the major doubt for the weekend still.
“With hamstring injuries, they normally take longer than seven days, so we probably expect him to be missing but you never know with certain players.
“If he is any doubt he doesn’t play and we leave him for the weekend after.”
Much like the Lilywhites, Carlisle have hit a purple patch of form this week with two wins on the road against Oldham Athletic and Doncaster Rovers.
But Grayson is hoping that the foundations built by some fantastic defensive displays recently will stand the side in good stead come Saturday.
He continued: “Carlisle is a difficult place to go.
“I have been up there many times and they will be enjoying what they are doing at this moment in time.
“They are on a good run of results recently and we know we are in for a tough game because I know Greg Abbott will be wanting to win as many games as he can between now and the end of the season.
“Players will be playing for their futures, so just because both teams are safe it doesn’t mean to say there is nothing riding on the game.
“It should be a good game, Greg plays in a certain manner and he likes to do it the right way.
“I think they will be disappointed where they are this season as well.
“They have got some experienced players, they have got some threats and they have always been sort of on the outskirts of the Play-Offs over the last few years ,so we know it is a tough game.
“To go to Doncaster the other night and win and then Oldham before that, that was good results for them and it will be a good game for us on Saturday.
“The defence has given us a platform and a foundation to stay in games when you are under pressure.
“You look at Tuesday night for example, we were under pressure but we stood strong and we know that we have got players in the team who can affect games at the other end of the pitch and we have been critical over the last few weeks to a certain degree when we have not taken the opportunities when we have had them, but that foundation of the back four defending when they have had to do, the goalkeeper doing what he has had to do, making important saves, but the work rate of the lads in front of them have given them the protection and has been the platform for us to go get victories.”
The gaffer also made a point of asking the fans to ease up on John Mousinho who was targeted by a very small minority of the Deepdale crowd on Tuesday night.
“The reaction to John Mousinho coming on was a surprise really,” added Simon.
“Obviously I am aware that John has not had the easiest of season’s but I think it was a bit unfair on the player for a certain section of the crowd to give him a hard time before he come on and hopefully that is something which will not happen too often over the next few months and years with any player because it is not nice for any individual to be like that.
“John is a honest professional, works hard and you saw he affected the game when he came on, so I would just say to the supporters, if you like somebody then give them a big cheer, if you don’t like anybody just keep nice and quiet.
“That’s not me having a go at our supporters, that’s just something in general.
“Players play better when they have got the belief and confidence in the supporters and themselves.”