Preston v Portsmouth preview

Team news for Friday's League One clash between Preston North End and Portsmouth at Deepdale (kick-off 5pm).

Last Updated: 28/03/13 at 15:06

Stuart Beavon: Faces late fitness test

Stuart Beavon: Faces late fitness test

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Preston manager Simon Grayson will run the rule over Stuart Beavon and John Welsh.

Beavon hopes to resume his role in North End's attack after departing midway through the first half of last weekend's 0-0 draw with Leyton Orient due to concussion.

Former Tranmere captain Welsh missed the O's visit to Lancashire having suffered an Achilles injury in the 1-0 defeat at Brentford a week earlier.

Fellow midfielder Joel Byrom is building towards full fitness following hernia surgery and has completed another week of training, leaving Scott Laird (broken leg) as the Lilywhites' only remaining long-term absentee.

"Portsmouth have picked up a little bit in recent weeks and they are in quite good form," said Preston defender Paul Huntington on his club's official website.

"Obviously they have had difficulties off the pitch, so it has been a tough season for them, but on the pitch is what matters on Friday and as of late they have been going well, so we will be expecting a tough game but it's one we are looking to win."

Portsmouth are expected to be unchanged.

Caretaker boss Guy Whittingham has no new injury worries and, having been able to field a settled team in recent weeks, has seen his side lose just one of their last six matches.

Whittingham did make one change last week with experienced full-back Shaun Cooper replacing youngster Dan Butler, and the Crawley loanee will be hoping to keep his place after helping Pompey to a 2-0 win over Coventry.

Ricardo Rocha and Gabor Gyepes continue at centre-half meaning Sam Sodje will be on the bench again.

Striker Patrick Agyemang partners David Connolly in attack and returns to the club where he scored 21 goals in just over three years.

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