Manager Simon Grayson will be forced into at least two changes from last weekend’s first league defeat at Peterborough and it could well be three or more as the physio room gets busier.
Speaking ahead of the weekend’s clash with Crewe Alexandra, the PNE boss – already without Iain Hume, Chris Humphrey and Will Hayhurst, who are all on international duty – has said that Bailey Wright is very doubtful after injury forced him to miss the JPT game in midweek, leaving a change of personnel and even a change of formation both possibilities for the Lilywhites.
“We have the lads away on international duty; Bailey Wright missed the game the other night and is 50/50 and we picked up one or two knocks the other night,” he said.
“We have one or two people who won’t be available for selection, but I have said all along that we have a good enough squad for players to come into the team and adapt to the situations that arise.
“We had chance to get the game called off, but we feel that we are on a decent run, apart from the last two games. Confidence levels are still high, we are playing in a manner to suit people and we were more than happy to play this weekend.
“I keep saying, we have players who are waiting who played a massive part in the football club last year, to come into the team if selected.”
After two games where the opposition have been given early head starts, the manager will be sending his side out with the message that a fast and strong start is needed
“We need to start the game better, get on the front foot more and get a 90 minutes performance.
“We want to get straight back on it and get back to winning ways quickly. If the game had been called off we would have to fit it in during a midweek, which is not ideal.
“To remain unbeaten in the league at home at this stage is unbeaten and the form at home since we’ve been at the football club has been very good. We wanted to get a positive attitude back to the football club, all pulling in the same direction.
“I have always said that we have to give the fans something to cheer about and we have managed to do that more than not. But when things are hard you want the fans to stay with you a little bit and they have done that.
“The turn out on Tuesday night was excellent and away from home they have been brilliant – so everything is moving in the right direction.”
Crewe arrive at Deepdale on the back of a difficult run of results, but will not be underestimated by PNE or Grayson: “Last year they had a great season. They won the JPT, have a fantastic history of brining players through and they are probably just going through one of those periods when it just doesn’t happen for you.
“I read the comments of Steve Davis and Neil Baker that said their recent results do not reflect performances. Every team has to earn the right to win a football match and that is what we will have to do.
“If you give footballing teams like Crewe half a yard to go and play and dictate the game, they can hurt you, because they have some good footballers. You have to be patient, but you also have to be ruthless in both boxes and hopefully we can get out of the blocks quickly and hurt them.”