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First Team News

Gaffer Says PNE Are ‘Champing At The Bit’

8 December 2022

Ryan Lowe says his players are champing at the bit to return to Championship action after going four weeks without a fixture.

Preston North End head to Ewood Park on Saturday, where they will take on Lancashire rivals Blackburn Rovers for a 12 noon kick-off.

It’s been almost a month since North End’s last league outing, a home game against Millwall on 12th November, given the unprecedented break for the World Cup.

During that period, Ryan’s side have taken on two behind-closed-doors friendlies, while ultimately working towards this weekend’s fixture.

Ryan said: “We’ve worked on some stuff on the training pitch which has been good.

“The lads have been in fantastic spirits. We’ve had some good days and some down days.

“We’ve tried to mix it up but not too much.

“It’s been good. I think the lads are champing at the bit to be back out there on Saturday afternoon – early Saturday afternoon – and hopefully put on a performance that gets us a result.”

PNE’s hosts are currently sat third in the league table, just a couple of points outside of the automatic promotion places, and they’ll be desperate to pick up a positive result after a 3-0 beating at the home of their fiercest rivals, Burnley, prior to the break.

The manager is well aware of the threats they pose, though, especially with Ben Brereton Diaz leading the line.

Ryan said: “We’ve put all the preparation into the group and done all the work we’ve needed.

“Blackburn are doing well; they’ve got a good goalscorer but it’s not just him. They’ve got some good players.

“They very rarely draw games, they either win or lose. They’ve won more than they’ve lost and drawn because they’re up there with good points.

“But, again, it’s a derby and I think a lot of form goes out the window. They haven’t played for a month competitively, neither have we, and it’s one we’re really looking forward to.”

Ben Whiteman will be available for selection for the trip to East Lancashire, after missing the two games prior to the World Cup break through injury.

Striker Troy Parrott is still some time away from full fitness, though, as far as his hamstring issue is concerned.

“Troy won’t be back with us just yet,” added Ryan. “When I said after the international break, I didn’t give any specific game in terms of Blackburn or QPR or Huddersfield, but he’s going in the right direction.

“He’s on the grass now and he’s got the ball at his feet which is a good sign.

“He had a bit of an illness the other week which knocked him back a week or so because he was off for a few days, but there’s not going to be any rush with Troy.

“If we can get him back for the new year then it’ll be absolutely perfect for him and for us, and that’s going to be the aim.”


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