Midfielder Josh Brownhill is eyeing a starting role for Preston North End in the absence of Club captain John Welsh through suspension.
The former England U21 international picked up his tenth booking of the season against Bristol City at Ashton Gate meaning he now faces a two game ban.
The skipper’s spell on the sidelines blows the competition for a place in the centre of midfield wide open for the visit of Carlisle United on Saturday and the trip to Brentford next week.
“It’s going to be tough with Welsh out for the two games,” Brownhill told PNE.Com in an exclusive interview.
“He’s usually fighting for places with Alan Browne, Keith Keane, Killa and myself so it’s going to be tough but it’s out of my control, it’s up to the gaffer but hopefully I will be picked.”
Republic of Ireland youth international Browne has impressed with some assured performances from the bench since his bow in North End’s 3-1 win over Peterborough United last month.
The 18-year-old is yet to start a game for the Lilywhites but Brownhill expects his teammate to be pushing for his full debut against Carlisle.
“To see him doing well is good, seeing another young lad is getting a chance,” Brownhill said.
“Obviously he has taken it and he has been playing well so he will definitely be up for a place next weekend against Carlisle because he has been doing well.”
Keith Keane and Neil Kilkenny have amassed just short of 70 appearances for Preston this term and Brownhill is under no illusions as to how fierce the battle to start in the coming weeks will be.
“They’re not going to be easy to oust, they always work hard, put everything into every game and they’re always on form,” he commented.
“But whether it will be one of us in there with them, they always help us and tell us what we need to do to improve or how we can affect the game a bit more, which is good from experienced players.”
The last time North End faced Graham Kavanagh’s side, Brownhill finished off an incredible team move which saw every Preston player touch the ball in the build up to the winning goal.
The former Manchester United trainee is hoping for a similar outcome when Carlisle visit Deepdale but expects a tough game against the Cumbrians, who sit just one place above the relegation zone on goal difference.
“It would be nice for a repeat of the goal, a team goal and a finish against them,” the midfielder said.
“But I think they’ve changed a couple of people and they have got new people in so it will be a different game, it will be harder.
“They’re fighting to keep clear of relegation and we’ve just got to keep winning to make sure whatever spot we do have at the end of the season that we’re on form and get the momentum with us.”