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First Team News

Ryan Ready For ‘Selection Dilemma’

10 March 2022

With a few players back in contention following injury and suspension for Saturday’s game against Cardiff City, manager Ryan Lowe said he will go with "who suits best”.

Patrick Bauer and Sean Maguire are back in training after their respective spells on the sidelines, while Liam Lindsay is available after serving his one-match ban.

In his place for last weekend’s victory over AFC Bournemouth came Bambo Diaby for his full debut, so that central defensive spot is up for grabs.

“You have to go with what you feel,” Ryan told iFollow PNE. “We’ll look at Cardiff, even before the manager had his new contract I thought they’d done fantastic under him anyway, and obviously he’s been rewarded with a new contract.

“They lost a couple and [they have] won the last two so they’re in good form, we know that.

“Jordan Hugill is a big handful, [Uche] Ikpeazu is a big handful, and they’ve got some young lads, some good talent, so we need to make sure we’re on our mettle because they’re a good team and they’ve got a good fanbase as well.

“But that’ll be a selection I have to make, and we’ll look at it first and foremost, and see who suits best, but it’ll be nice to have them back.”

Those who won’t be ready to feature are Tom Barkhuizen and Greg Cunningham, with the latter expected sooner than North End’s No.29, while Josh Murphy is ineligible to play against his parent club.

As mentioned above, Maguire is back in the fold though, and he stepped up his recovery midweek by featuring in the Lancashire FA Senior Cup defeat to Liverpool.

Ryan said: “He's alright, he’s fine. He’s been fit all season, he’s played loads of games, we just thought the game wasn’t that good for him to be honest.

“He got 45 minutes and we took him off because he wasn’t getting anything out of it.

“He trained with us all week which was good, even at the back end of last week and he just missed out on the squad [against Bournemouth], so he’ll have two more days now to build up to Saturday and he’ll be ready to go.”

The trip to Cardiff will be the third away game in South Wales for PNE in 2022, and the second game against the Bluebirds in that time, having faced them in the FA Cup third round.

Steve Morison’s men came out on top that afternoon, scoring late in extra-time, but North End’s form has been very positive since that defeat in January.

“We’ve only lost once since then and we want to continue that,” added Ryan.

“We don’t want to lose any games of football, but we know we’re in for a tough afternoon because they’re going well, but they’ll be doing the same thing about us and thinking the same.

“It’ll be two teams trying to get three points, of course, but it’s one I’m really looking forward to because of the atmosphere as well.

“I’ve never been to the Cardiff City Stadium when their fans have been there so I’m looking forward to a little bit of a battle between their fans and our fans, and then obviously a battle on the pitch to try and take three points.”

Ryan's full interview on iFollow is available to watch for free above.

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