Preston winning without Ben Pearson last weekend was a major boost, but Alex Neil would love to have him back.
Pearson missed last weekend’s 2-0 home win over Brentford, picking up a virus which ruled him out. In came Ryan Ledson in his place, and Preston managed to get all three points even without the talismanic midfielder.
With a trip to Birmingham City coming up, Neil would ideally want Pearson back in the side. Ironically, Neil was without an injured Pearson for the 2017 trip to Birmingham, which ended in a 3-1 North End win.
Pearson will be itching to get back in, especially with such a big game on the horizon. No, not Birmingham, but Manchester City. As a former Manchester United player and Red Devils fan, Pearson would love a crack at Pep Guardiola’s side.
Ahead of Saturday’s game, Neil has offered an update on Preston’s number 4. Neil admitted that today was actually Pearson’s first day back in training, so he will have to be monitored in the coming hours.
AN: “I think most of the lads will be available this weekend, Tom Clarke and Louis Moult will be the only ones we will be missing I think which is pleasing. Ben Pearson will have his first day back training today so we will see how he gets on before the weekend.” #pnefc
— Preston North End FC (@pnefc) September 19, 2019
With any other manager at the helm, you’d assume Pearson will probably be on the bench. He’s missed almost a week with this virus, so bringing him back in may be a gamble.
Yet with Neil, you just never know. A week ago we thought Seani Maguire and Tom Barkhuizen would miss the Brentford game. Not only did they start, but they scored the goals to clinch all three points.
Neil is so hard to second guess that it wouldn’t be a surprise if Pearson starts; after all, he’s North End’s most important player.