Saturday 20 January 2018

Praise lavished on Preston's Irish defender Greg Cunningham after he tried to play on with fractured leg

Preston North End's Greg Cunningham, left, is out for the rest of the season
Preston North End's Greg Cunningham, left, is out for the rest of the season Newsdesk Newsdesk

Republic of Ireland international Greg Cunningham has been praised for trying to run off an injury today which turned out to be a fractured leg.

The 26-year-old Galway native was in action for Preston during their 3-1 defeat to Norwich at Deepdale this afternoon.

It was just a third Championship home defeat for Preston in their last 19 games, with Norwich taking a 2-0 half-time lead courtesy of Graham Dorrans' deflected strike and Josh Murphy's cool finish after a Cameron Jerome flick.

And while Tom Barkhuizen twice came close to scoring and defender Tommy Spurr headed home Paul Gallagher's free-kick to give his side a lifeline, the Canaries put the game to bed in extra time as James Maddison slotted past Chris Maxwell.

Cunningham suffered a fractured leg early in the game against the Canaries and tried to play on, but the Preston boss Simon Grayson revealed he should still be fit for pre-season.

“Greg’s got a fracture to his leg which means he’ll be out for the rest of the season, but hopefully he’ll be back for pre-season,” he explained.

“He’s a top a lad and tried to carry on. A brave, brave player, one of the best players that I signed at this football club and it’s unfortunate that this incident has happened. Obviously it’s serious, but it’s not too serious that it’s going to rule him out for months and months.

"I think it’s a six-week turnaround which will have him ready for the pre-season, so we’ll get him sorted and see him in pre-season.”

There was worse news for captain Tom Clarke who was also injured during the game.

“It’s another big blow for us,” he added. “Tom suffered a ruptured Achilles, which is going to be eight to ten months or something like that. This is a massive blow to the player first and foremost and ultimately us as a team.

“It’s horrible when you see Tom stay down as he did on Friday; when he does that you know there’s something wrong. He then went for a scan and the results have come back as what we expected, but we didn’t want to hear the news.

“It’s a devastating blow because he’s been fantastic for this club. He’s suffered a poor injury in the past with his cruciate and come back stronger and played the games that he has done, and he’ll do the same again when he comes back from the Achiles tendon injury.

“We’ll look after him as we do with all the players and make sure that he comes back fitter and stronger and we wish him well.”

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