Preston travel to take on Huddersfield Town in the Championship today, with Alex Neil desperately needing a result.
North End have yet to win since football returned. A 1-1 draw at Luton Town has been followed up by home defeats at the hands of Cardiff City and Derby County.
After spending most of the season in the top six, Preston now find themselves on the outside looking in. They need to hit back today with a win at Huddersfield, who are scrapping for points.
Neil may be considering major changes to his side, having picked up just one point in the last three. He made five changes in midweek, but it didn’t help much.
Two players we haven’t seen since the restart are Ryan Ledson and Tom Bayliss. Both are talented young players, but are finding first-team playing time a little difficult to come by.
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Ledson has managed just 17 minutes of league action in 2020. Bayliss hasn’t even played a single minute of Championship action since joining from Coventry City for £1.2million last summer.
The problem for them is the wealth of midfield options ahead of them. Ben Pearson, Paul Gallagher, Daniel Johnson, Brad Potts, Alan Browne and Josh Harrop can all play in midfield roles.
Now, Neil has told Lancs Live that he thinks Ledson has been ‘first class’ in training since coming back from the break, praising his attitude and his passing ability.
Neil believes that Ledson will believe he can seize his chance when it comes, and thinks Bayliss is in a similar boat in terms of being a talented midfield player who just needs to wait for his chance as things stand.
“He’s a great lad to have around Ryan,” said Neil. “He’s just been a little bit unfortunate because we’ve got Pearo and Gally in particular who have performed very well for us this season. He’s had to bide his time but he’s improved considerably this year and is still a young lad. His training has been first-class since we’ve come back and he’s been unfortunate to not start any games. I can’t speak highly enough of his attitude and how he applies himself, and he’s a very good passer of the ball Ryan as well.”
“He’s an ambitious lad and for all the quality in our midfield and how hard it is to get into it, Ryan like most footballers will back himself and be confident that if he gets a run, he can prove himself to be good enough. Ryan’s time will certainly come and Tom Bayliss fits into that category too – he’s got some quality players ahead of him & our midfield is up there with the best, in my opinion,” he added.