Sean frozen out by Preston boss

St Ledger set for a spell on sidelines after axe

IRELAND defender Sean St Ledger may be forced to spend a spell on the sidelines after he was dropped by Preston boss Darren Ferguson.

St Ledger is a key member of the Ireland side under Giovanni Trapattoni as the defender has missed just two games since he made his debut against Nigeria 18 months ago.

He had also been a regular in the Preston side, apart from a brief and unhappy spell on loan to Middlesbrough.

But Preston are struggling at the foot of the Championship table and manager Ferguson reacted by leaving St Ledger out of the side for last week's 0-0 league draw with Millwall -- which ended a run of three defeats for the Lancashire club.

Ferguson defended his decision to drop St Ledger to the bench and paid tribute to the "professional" way in which he reacted.

"It's always hard to leave players out," says Ferguson.


"Out of respect to who I leave out, I always try to explain to them the reason why they aren't playing.

"Sean took it fine. He was disappointed of course, but took it in the right way - in a professional manner.

"At the end of the day we are bottom of the league and have conceded far too many goals this season. I had a decision to make and made it," added Ferguson.

Meanwhile Ireland international Martin Rowlands could be on his way out of QPR.

The midfielder has struggled to reclaim his place in the side at Loftus Road after his recovery from a knee injury which kept him out of action for 13 months and a loan move to London rivals Crystal Palace could be on the cards, as manager Neil Warnock admits that Rowlands is in a tricky position.

"Martin has been a fantastic servant for the club. But it's a bit of a catch 22 for him, because I can't give him games to get fit when there are others already in top condition" said Warnock.

Rowlands suffered the knee injury while on international duty, playing in the World Cup qualifier at home to Montenegro in October of last year and the player was forced to go through a long rehab process.

Since returning to fitness he has managed just two sub appearances.