Preston North End handed a start to Connor Wickham tonight, but the striker barely managed 10 minutes before being taken off with an injury.
North End hosted Cheltenham Town in the Carabao Cup, fighting for a spot in the last 16.
PNE were 2-0 up at the break as Andrew Hughes and Joe Rafferty scored rare goals.
Frankie McAvoy’s men couldn’t find a third before Kyle Vassell smashed in a goal back for for Cheltenham.
Sean Maguire’s long wait for a goal came to an end as PNE ended the game as a contest, before Emil Riis hammered in a long-range drive.
Wickham injury a dark cloud over PNE win
Sadly, it wasn’t all good news for PNE.
New signing Wickham started up front for North End having come on as a substitute against West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.
Wickham took an early hit from a Cheltenham player, and that was that. Wickham’s full PNE debut lasted less than 10 minutes.
This was always going to be the gamble. Wickham’s injury history is bleak, and he didn’t even play senior football last season.
PNE gave Wickham a short-term deal until January because they know his injury record shows he can break down at any point.
Let’s hope this injury isn’t too bad, but it’s a repeat situation for North End.
Injury gambles not really paying off
PNE also took a similar gamble on playmaker Izzy Brown over the summer.
Brown’s injury record in recent years has seem him struggle for regular football.
North End gave him a one-year deal after leaving Chelsea. Just days after a substitute appearance against Celtic in pre-season, Brown tore his Achilles.
Brown could miss the rest of the season with that injury, but PNE tried again with another injury-prone signing in Wickham.
Losing Wickham so quickly feels similar to the Brown injury, and these calculated gambles have backfired on PNE.