Plymouth defender Reda Johnson is facing a race to be fit for their clash against Preston at Home Park.

The centre-half was substituted during the second half of Argyle's 4-3 defeat at Sheffield United last week with a groin injury and he remains a doubt.

Argyle boss Paul Mariner's options could be boosted by the return to fitness of defender Gary Sawyer following a knee injury which kept him out of the Bramall Lane encounter.

If Sawyer does make it he could go straight back in at left-back, which would then see Chris Barker switch to a central role to cover Johnson's absence.

Plymouth go into the game five points adrift of safety and without a win in three and if Mariner's side are to launch any sort of survival bid, they will see this as a must-win clash.

Preston boss Darren Ferguson is boosted by the return of midfielder Richard Chaplow.

Chaplow has been suffering from a groin injury related to the double hernia operation he underwent in November.

He returned to full fitness last week but missed the 3-0 home win over Cardiff to attend the birth of his second child.

Paul Coutts was sent off against the Bluebirds and now serves a one-match ban, so Chaplow is poised to replace him in the centre of midfield.

On-loan Manchester United youngster Matt James is hoping to be passed fit after an Achilles strain but fellow Old Trafford loanee Danny Welbeck could remain sidelined with a knee injury.

Skipper Callum Davidson could feature after recovering from head and muscle injuries.

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Topics:
Paul Coutts
Football
Darren Ferguson
Cardiff City
Preston North End
Danny Welbeck
Gary Sawyer
Manchester United
Reda Johnson
Sheffield United
Richard Chaplow
Chris Barker
Paul Coutts
Plymouth Argyle
Callum Davidson