Manager Alex Neil was delighted to see Calum Woods and John Welsh come through a behind closed doors game against Fleetwood Town at Springfields this week.
Woods, out since last pre-season after a cruciate knee operation, played 90 minutes against the Cod Army, whilst Welsh, out since October 2016 with a calf problem, played the first 45 minutes as they get close to a return to the first team fold.
The PNE boss also confirmed that Declan Rudd had got a full week of training under his belt, but that Paul Gallagher would again miss out after suffering concussion in last week’s clash with Derby County at Pride Park.
Experienced defenders Greg Cunningham and Tom Clarke continue to be ruled out, which means Josh Earl could continue after impressing on his debut in the home win over Reading last weekend.
Speaking at the press conference ahead of the game, the gaffer said: “Paul Gallagher’s still carrying a knock in his head. Greg Cunningham’s had his operation and we’ve still got the likes of John Welsh and Calum Woods to come back, who got some minutes under their belt against Fleetwood this week.
“Declan Rudd is in training just now which is a big step forward for Declan. We’re hoping he’s going to be back within the next week or two so certainly after the international break Declan should be available.”