Preston head into today’s game with Sheffield United with a number of injury concerns following the defeat at Reading.

North End’s first league defeat since New Year’s Day was a crushing blow. Teams around us have picked up key points, and Preston now enter the toughest part of the run-in.

Today, it’s third-placed Sheffield United taking on Alex Neil’s side. After defeat to Bristol City last weekend, the Blades slipped out of the automatic promotion places. As a result, this game is vital to both teams in the quest for promotion to the Premier League.

Sadly, North End are riddled with injury woes again. Andrew Hughes, Tom Barkhuizen and Brandon Barker won’t play again this season after picking up big injuries. In the knocks department, Alan Browne, Ben Pearson and Brad Potts are all struggling.

With that in mind, here’s our predicted line-up for today’s game…

Declan Rudd will keep his place in goal, protected by centre back duo Jordan Storey and Ben Davies. Those three have featured together for most of 2019, and there’s little chance of them being broken up.

Darnell Fisher should start at right back, with Josh Earl on the left. Earl will be filling in for Hughes until the end of the season, and needs to grasp his chance to shine.

With Pearson a doubt, Ryan Ledson could make a return to the side in midfield. News on Browne and Potts is thin on the ground, so Daniel Johnson and Paul Gallagher could be the two midfielders ahead of Ledson.

Alex Neil doesn’t like to reveal injury news, so we could see none of those three midfielders play… or see all of them starting. It’s a really tough prediction this week given the nature of their knocks and Neil’s reluctance to reveal information.

In this setup though, we’ll go for Lukas Nmecha on the right, despite being hooked at half time against Reading. After a late goal in that game, Jayden Stockley could lead the line, with Seani Maguire pushed out to the left. Callum Robinson looked off the pace last week so may not start here, allowing Maguire to fill in there.

We’ll assume Pearson, Browne and Potts will at least be on the bench, leaving four spots with them. Michael Crowe, Paul Huntington, Callum Robinson and Louis Moult figure to be included in this instance.

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