Preston North End manager Alex Neil has revealed that Ben Pearson will not be available for their clash against Queens Park Rangers on Saturday, with the midfielder having a problem with his tendon.
Pearson has been an integral part of Preston’s strongest starting line-up throughout the campaign so far, forming effective partnerships with both Alan Browne and Paul Gallagher at the base of midfield – and he has provided both quality distribution and protection in front of the back four.
However, the midfielder missed last weekend’s 2-0 defeat at Fulham through injury, with the Lilywhites also without Gallagher meaning that Brad Potts was brought into the side for a rare start, and Neil’s side missed the presence of Pearson at the heart of their midfield at Craven Cottage as they fell to a second successive defeat.
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Speaking to Lancashire Live ahead of Preston’s clash with QPR on Saturday, Neil confirmed that Pearson has a problem with his tendon and will not be available to feature this weekend, but he insisted that the Lilywhites have enough in their squad to compensate for his absence.
He said: “It’s pretty much just Ben Pearson from the lads that have been available.
“It was just a niggle – we had a precautionary scan as we always do and it came back as bad news. It’s next to a tendon which is the issue.
“We’ve got players with a similar style but we’ve also got players we can put in and tweak it a bit.”
Neil, though was able to provide a more positive update on Gallagher suggesting he will be fit enough to feature, saying: “He should be fine, he will train today so we will see how he is.”
This is a real blow for Preston as they look to get their season back on track against QPR, with the Lilywhites having suffered three defeats in their last four matches, which has seen their lead on seventh placed Bristol City cut to just two points.
Pearson is one of Preston’s main driving forces from the middle of the pitch, and the Lilywhites rely on him to provide protection to the back four and also leadership on the pitch, when things are not going their way during a game, and he will be a real miss during his absence.
Against Fulham last time out it was clear how much Preston missed his presence in midfield, and although Potts delivered a decent enough performance, he is not able to offer the same sort of battling qualities that the 25-year-old provides when he is on the pitch.
Neil, though, could be able to bring Gallagher into the side against QPR, which should help to provide some added experience in the absence of Pearson, and the Lilywhites will be needing show they are able to cope without one of their most influential performers on Saturday.