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First Team News

Gaffer Hoping For Injury Boost

19 January 2023

Ryan Lowe is hopeful of being able to call upon a few players who have been missing through injury in recent weeks, when PNE take on Birmingham City on Saturday.

North End will head to St. Andrew’s looking to get back to winning ways following last week’s disappointing defeat at home to Norwich City, while the home side have lost each of their last four Championship fixtures.

Jordan Storey made his return from a calf injury last weekend, while the additions of loanees Liam Delap and Tom Cannon boosted the squad, and there may be room for a few more to return in the Midlands on Saturday.

“They’re all in the fold,” Ryan told iFollow PNE.

“Ben Whiteman will be training in some part today, Ched Evans will be training today in some part, and Brad Potts will be training in some part.

“Seani [Maguire] is back with us – he’s fully fit now – so I think the only ones really now are Emil [Riis] and young Lewis Leigh.

“We’re hoping we can travel with a fully-fit squad and hopefully I’ve got a fully-fit squad to pick from.”

If those players are to be back, then the manager will have some tough calls to make in terms of selection.

Last weekend’s teamsheet involved none of the scholars which had been named in previous weeks – the likes of Finlay Cross-Adair and Jacob Slater – therefore it will be a case of senior professionals missing out from the 18.

On that, Ryan said: “That’s my decision and a decision I’ll have to stand by.

“It’s never a personal thing with the players: they know that. It’s a case of what we feel is best to go and win a game of football and who’s best when we’re looking at the bench at who can come on and give us an impact.

“We’ll have to see how them players train over the next couple of days first and foremost, but that’s a decision that I have to make in terms of leaving people out, but it’s a collective thing because next week they could be back in the fold.

“We’ll have nine subs for the Tottenham game so they can be back involved in that and then a couple can’t play because they’re cup tied, so that’s football and that’s what you want a fully-fit squad for.”

Following on from the loss at Deepdale last Saturday, the manager said his squad have trained “excellently” this week going into the clash against Birmingham.

PNE will be looking to continue their fantastic form on the road, which ranks as the third-best in the division, while for the hosts it’ll be about putting their disappointing run of four defeats to an end.

Ryan said: “We’d all love the form to be joint at home as well as away, but unfortunately that hasn’t been the case so far.

“But the away form has been outstanding as you’ve said, so we’ve got to continue that to keep collecting points, but we know there’s a team standing in our way who are a bit of a wounded animal at the moment.

“They’ve lost four league games which no one likes losing, but for me they’ve got a good manager, they’re well coached and they’ve got some good players and they can hurt any team.

“So we’ve got to make sure we’ve got our guard up, do the right things and get back to a few basics in terms of defending well and attacking well.

“If we do that then hopefully we’ll have a good afternoon.”

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