Preston North End may end up needing to call on youngster Jacob Slater after injuries to a number of defenders.

PNE headed to Bloomfield Road on Saturday afternoon and came way licking their wounds after a 4-2 defeat.

Three second-half Blackpool goals resulted in North End’s demise at the seaside, and some have pointed to one key moment.

Defender Greg Cunningham was taken off injured in the second half and replacing him with Bambo Diaby really didn’t work.

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The Irishman looked to be in real pain and there has been no word on when he will be able to return.

That injury just adds to PNE’s defensive issues at the moment.

Andrew Hughes picked up an injury in training ahead of the Blackpool trip and Ryan Lowe has told Lancs Live that it’s unclear just when he will be back.

That’s North End’s two main left-sided centre backs both out at the moment, which is far from ideal when playing a three-man defence every week.

Lowe could shift Liam Lindsay to left-sided centre back, as he did against Blackpool, but then you’re asking who plays in the middle.

Patrick Bauer had an appendix operation earlier this month and was only scheduled to be back in training this week according to Lowe.

The 29-year-old hasn’t kicked a ball since the end of August as well, meaning it would be a gamble to throw him straight back in.

The only other senior option would be Diaby, who has looked very rusty in his two recent appearances.

Lowe could turn to the young players at his disposal and Jacob Slater may emerge as an option.

Slater, 18, came in Carabao Cup ties against Huddersfield Tow and Wolverhampton Wanderers.

A natural left-sided defender, Slater has earned huge praise from Lowe, who branded him a ‘phenomenal’ player back in August.

Slater then signed a first professional deal in September with North End seemingly seeing big potential in the youngster.

Slater has been training around the first team of late and whilst Lowe may rather bring him along slowly, this defensive injury list is piling up.

This is how young players often get their big break and it may not be a huge surprise to see Slater on the bench soon – or even starting if these injuries keep coming.

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Olly Dawes
Olly Dawes

Olly is an experienced football journalist. He spends his time tweeting about football, NFL, video games, FPL, and wrestling.

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