Preston North End manager Alex Neil admits he may have to look for defensive reinforcements in the January transfer window due to Patrick Bauer’s long-term injury, reports LancsLive

The German has been reportedly ruled out for the season after picking up an Achilles injury in Tuesday night’s 3-2 win away at Bournemouth.

The defender scored what proved to be the decisive third goal in the 3-2 win over the Cherries, but was writhing on the pitch in pain just 20 minutes later.

He is set to go under the knife next Monday, and Neil is now looking at the possibility of bringing in an extra defender ahead of a gruelling festive schedule, with only three fit central defenders in the squad.

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I think it would have to be,” he said in his pre-match press conference. “Because the fact is, going forward you would always need four. 

“Each and every one of our centre-backs have played a significant part already this season. 

“With the games we’ve currently got, [three] is not enough and we’ve gone in to games without any fit full-backs or any fit back-up full-backs. 

“Now, with how the games are constructed, it puts so much reliance on having 25 fit players and unfortunately for us we’ve had a lot of long-term injuries and guys out for significant periods.”

The Lilywhites boss couldn’t be drawn on what type of deals he would be looking for in January and says it will be difficult to balance cost with quality.

If I’m being honest it’s far too soon for me to be able to comment on that,” he added. “It’s just happened to Patrick and my immediate attention is on Wycombe. 

“Albeit, we will be working hard in the background to try and get targets lined-up. But then affordability is the difficultly you’ve got – who we can recruit, where we get them from and whether they’re of the relevant quality.

“Because there’s no point bringing a body in if they’re not going to be good enough to contribute.” 

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Preston are back in Championship action on Saturday when they host Wycombe Wanderers at Deepdale.

The Lancashire side will be looking to build on Tuesday night’s impressive win at the Vitality Stadium, which came after three defeats in their previous four games.

They currently sit 15th in the table with 19 points, seven adrift of the play-off places and nine ahead of the bottom three.