, ‘I have messaged him’ – Preston man confirms contact with sidelined Coventry City star after challenge

‘I have messaged him’ – Preston man confirms contact with sidelined Coventry City star after challenge

Preston North End defender Andrew Hughes has contacted Coventry City man Tatsuhiro Sakamoto after the winger saw his season ended after an aerial battle with the Welshman.

Coventry City winger Sakamoto has become an influential figure in his first season in Sky Blue. His return of seven goals and two assists in 29 Championship games has made him a popular player among supporters too.

However, it was confirmed earlier this week that Mark Robins would be without his services for the rest of the season. The Japanese ace is out with a serious back injury after landing awkwardly following an aerial challenge with Preston North End’s Andrew Hughes.

Now, in the wake of the season-ending blow, Hughes shared that he has sent his apologies and best wishes to Sakamoto.

As quoted by the Lancashire Post, the Preston defender made it clear that he never meant to cause harm with the challenge, confirming his contact with the Coventry City man. He said:

“That wasn’t my intention during that moment in time and I have spoken to the player, personally. I have messaged him and just said it wasn’t my intention to cause any harm. He knew that and was fine.

“It is just a shame when you come away and see the extent of the injury as long-term. I don’t wish that on anyone. So, I did feel bad, that night. But it is part of the game, isn’t it? It’s a contact sport and there are going to be injuries, with people competing for the ball.

“Unfortunately, people do get injured sometimes but that wasn’t at the front of my mind. It’s one of them, people have done it to me and people have done it to players in our changing room – nothing gets said. It is just unfortunate that the lad has picked up that injury and is going to be out for a while.

“Would I do it again? It is tough isn’t it, because the majority of the time that doesn’t happen.”

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Sakamoto sidelined

Coventry City have had a hard time with injuries this season and the absence of Sakamoto gives Robins another selection headache. Against Maidstone United, Fabio Tavares started on the right, but time will tell if he’s viewed as the long-term option there.

It could be that Kasey Palmer moves out to the wing with Callum O’Hare operating in the number 10 role while Haji Wright plays off the left. Milan van Ewijk is an attack-minded full-back with experience as a wing-back, so perhaps he could be an option in a more advanced position while Joel Latibeaudiere fills in.

Robins will be forced to shuffle things around a bit with one of his mainstays sidelined. In the meantime, Sakamoto will be hoping to go through a smooth recovery to return next season.

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