Preston North End can confirm that the club have been granted permission from the EFL to remove Connor Wickham from the 25-man squad for Championship fixtures.
Wickham suffered a serious hamstring injury last month in the early stages of the Carabao Cup tie against Cheltenham Town at Deepdale.
With the striker expected to be side-lined for a significant period, the club have now had permission to remove Connor from the squad and he will be replaced by defender Joe Rafferty.
Connor has since undergone surgery on the injury and will continue his rehabilitation with the club, with everyone at Preston North End wishing him the best in his recovery.
Speaking on the change to the squad, head coach Frankie McAvoy said: “It’s a serious hamstring injury for Connor, he is going to be out of the game for the foreseeable future so we are grateful that the EFL have granted us permission to add another one to the 25-man squad and I’m delighted that it’s Joe Rafferty.
He’s done really well and was probably a bit unfortunate not to be added in the first instance but now we can move on and I’m pleased he is now part of the squad.”
On Connor’s injury, Frankie continued: “I wish Connor as quick a recovery as possible and hope that he comes through it with flying colours. He has undergone surgery and we have a great team here to help him, Jacko [Matt Jackson] and his team are excellent, and we just wish him a speedy recovery and hopefully he can get back in to the fold as quick as he can."
Joe Rafferty will now be available for selection for Championship fixtures and Frankie feels he has earned that right in his performances in the Carabao Cup this season and his overall attitude within the squad.
“To be fair he has been a big part of the squad, he was always in the back of my mind but we just needed to make sure we covered every aspect of the squad. To be fair to Joe I think he has answered me well in saying that he wants to be here and be part of it and his performances have shown that and I’m delighted to be adding him to the squad.”