Preston return to action on Saturday afternoon, hosting Sheffield Wednesday in the final home game of the season. After a run of five defeats in six, Alex Neil will hope to give the Deepdale crowd one more victory.
Monday’s 2-0 defeat at Wigan Athletic was a major disappointment, especially because yet another red card was picked up. Ryan Ledson’s first half karate kick unsurprisingly didn’t go down well, earning him an early bath.
That means Ledson will sit out the rest of the season, even missing the first two games of next term. Subsequently, Neil now faces a dilemma with Ben Pearson.
Pearson has just been suspended once again himself, having been sent off against Leeds United. The midfielder is available again this weekend, but Neil would love to leave him out.
That’s because Pearson is just one yellow card away from a three-match ban. After just six yellow cards in the first half of the season, Pearson has managed to rack up eight in his last 11 games.
That means that just one more booking could see him miss the start of next season – just like Ledson. Neil would have loved to basically end Pearson’s season, and use Ledson in his place, especially given his minimal playing time.
Now though, Neil faces a dilemma. Does he start Pearson and risk him getting another yellow card? It currently seems like he has no other option, with his lack of midfield options clear, given Alan Browne and Brad Potts are still out too.
Neil could hand a start to Jack Baxter, given that he’s starring for the Under-18’s and there’s nothing to play for. Baxter at least gives Neil something to think about, but it currently looks like Pearson will be risked – and we’ll be praying he escapes another booking.