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First Team News

Gaffer May Freshen Up For Southampton

24 October 2023

First Team News

Gaffer May Freshen Up For Southampton

24 October 2023

Ryan Lowe may choose to freshen up and bring some of the players who have recently been away on international duty back into the starting XI for North End’s match against Southampton.

Skipper Alan Browne, Liam Millar and Milutin Osmajić were all used as substitutes at the weekend against Millwall, having only just returned from trips with their respective countries.

With three games in a week – Hull City to follow Wednesday’s fixture – the manager is likely to make changes.

Ryan said: “You have to look at freshening it up, of course you do.

“We had players who were away on international duty two weeks ago and came back and featured a little bit at the weekend, so we’ve got them fresh and available.

“We’ve got to make sure we do the right thing and pick the right team that we feel can get a positive result.

“Liam came in and was tired [because] he’d obviously been to Japan and Milly only joined back up with us on Friday after doing a load of running on the Thursday because they’d been beaten, which is not ideal.

“Browney went away to Ireland and was sick and ended up playing the first game but didn’t have much time off, so every player comes into account when you’ve got a three-game week.

“As I’ve said, we’ll look at what freshness we’ve got, but I thought the lads were fantastic on Saturday – the lads who started and the lads who came on the pitch, but that’s why you have a squad.”

One area which the manager now has plenty of options for is in the final third.

Having relied on Will Keane in the early stages of the season, Ryan could turn to Ched Evans, Layton Stewart and Osmajić at the weekend, and he’ll have the same choices for Southampton.

North End had been without Evans for seven months due to a potentially life-changing condition, but the forward returned against Millwall to a rousing reception at Deepdale.

“We’ve got options definitely, and that’s what you need when you’re competing against these teams,” he said.

“You want to make sure you’ve got options whether it’s starting or on the bench, and it was a big relief for Ched to come through on Saturday and get some minutes.

“He had an opportunity potentially to score but he’ll find the back of the net sooner rather than later, but it’s pleasing we’ve got him fit and available.”

North End’s No.9 will be hoping that goal arrives at Deepdale on Wednesday night as Southampton make the trip to Lancashire.

Sitting one point and one position below PNE, Russell Martin’s side arrive in Preston looking to extend their unbeaten run to five matches.

Prior to that streak, they’d lost four successive games, conceding 11 goals in that time.

Ryan said: “Obviously they had a blip in terms of not winning as many games as they’d have liked but then they’ve gone on a nice run of winning games of football.

“They’re a good footballing team and they’re well coached. As everyone knows, they’ll play loads of passes but what we’ve got to do is make sure that we worry about what we can do on the day I think.

“Under the lights at Deepdale is always a special occasion and we’ll have our own gameplan to go into, and hopefully we can take a positive result.”

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