Preston North End manager Alex Neil has suggested that Josh Harrop missed out on the Lilywhites’ 2-0 defeat at West Bromwich Albion on Tuesday night with a hamstring problem, but that he should be fit enough to return this weekend.
Harrop found himself out of the starting line-up over the last few weeks, with Alex Neil opting for the likes of Tom Barkhuizen and Scott Sinclair in the wide positions, but the forward returned to the side in the 2-1 win against Hull City last weekend – and he had enjoyed a real run of form in January which saw him score against both Blackburn Rovers and Charlton Athletic.
However, Harrop was unable to make it successive starts in the Championship, with the forward forced to miss the trip to league leaders West Brom with a hamstring problem – and Neil’s side missed the presence of the 24-year-old as they fell to a frustrating 2-0 defeat at the Hawthorns.
QUIZ: Are these Preston North End facts true or false?
Speaking in his press conference following the defeat at West Brom, Neil confirmed that Harrop had missed out on the game through a hamstring injury, but that the 24-year-old should be available for their meeting with Fulham on Saturday.
He said: “His hamstring was a bit tight, he should hopefully be ok for the weekend.”
AN on Harrop: “His hamstring was a bit tight, he should hopefully be ok for the weekend.” #pnefc
— Preston North End FC (@pnefc) February 25, 2020
This is an encouraging update for Preston and will take some of the frustrations away from the 2-0 defeat they suffered at the Hawthorns, which will have offered a reminder that the Lilywhites need to be at their best, if they are able to ensure they collect enough points to finish inside the play-off places this term.
Harrop is likely going to be a key performer for Preston throughout the rest of the campaign, and the forward’s presence in the side was missed as they struggled to really play at their attacking best for prolonged periods against a strong West Brom side.
The 24-year-old offers Neil a different type of option in the wide attacking positions, and he has the ability to add an extra goal threat in the attacking third, which is something they have missed at times when he has not been called into the starting line-up.
Preston will therefore be hopeful that Harrop is able to make a return to the side for their trip to Fulham, and that he can manage to get back to the sort of form he showed in January, which saw him produce some real consistent displays in the attacking third.