Ben Pearson will serve the final game of his four match ban for the red card he received at Sheffield Wednesday, just prior to Christmas, when the Lilywhites entertain Doncaster Rovers in the Emirates FA Cup Third Round this Sunday afternoon.
Manager Alex Neil has been busy at the start of the transfer window, with Josh Ginnelly, Jayden Stockley and Brad Potts all having completed permanent deals, but the three are cup tied for this weekend and unable to make their first appearances for the club.
However, the gaffer will hope to have some of his ten injured players back and available for the clash with Grant McCann’s men.
Alan Browne, Sean Maguire Brandon Barker (all hamstring) and Josh Earl (thigh) are close to a return to action, having missed different amounts of games over recent weeks and months, but no one will be overly risked if they are not fully ready for first team action.
Those definitely still out are Ben Davies, Louis Moult and Callum Robinson (hamstring) and Billy Bodin and Josh Harrop (ACL), whilst goalkeeper Chris Maxwell will also be checked before the squad is named for the clash with the League One promotion chasers.
Rovers pair James Coppinger and Paul Taylor both returned to action in the thumping home win Rochdale on New Year’s Day.
Veteran midfielder Coppinger had not featured in the previous win at Gillingham due to a foot injury, while forward Taylor missed out through illness, but both made the bench at the Keepmoat Stadium on Tuesday afternoon.
Defender Shaun Cummings is expected to still be sidelined after sustaining a groin injury in the Boxing Day defeat at Fleetwood. Two other defenders, Niall Mason (broken toe) and Joe Wright (ankle), are closing in on their returns following long-term injuries, but may not be ready for Sunday.
Winger Kieran Sadlier, signed on the opening day of the transfer window from Cork City, should receive international clearance in time to make his debut against the Lilywhites and could come up against friend Sean Maguire, if his fellow Irishman is fit to return.
Aaron Lewis also completed a loan move from Swansea City before Friday’s noon deadline for registrations for the third round tie and he could also be involved in the squad that head across the Pennines.