Preston boss Darren Ferguson looks set to be boosted by the return of Sean St Ledger for the home clash with Portsmouth.

The highly-rated Republic of Ireland international has yet to play this term after suffering a hamstring strain in the pre-season friendly at Oldham.

However, he has trained this week and seems certain to bolster a North End defence that has shipped six goals in their opening two matches of the season.

Fellow centre-back Wayne Brown, a summer signing from Leicester, has yet to make a league appearance for Ferguson`s side.

He suffered a hip-flexor injury in pre-season and then picked up a slight calf strain. Midfielder Barry Nicholson remains a long-term absentee as he recovers from a leg injury.

John Utaka is an injury doubt for Portsmouth.

The Nigerian forward limped out of last Saturday's 1-1 draw at Reading after aggravating a hamstring problem and has not trained all week.

But Pompey could be boosted by the return of fellow forward Tommy Smith, who missed out against the Royals and Stevenage in the Carling Cup with a hip injury.

Defender Aaron Mokoena was also absent last week after his return from international duty with South Africa was delayed and he will be available.

Hayden Mullins, who has been playing as a makeshift right-back, is set to continue despite being hampered by a knee problem.

Veteran striker Kanu remains unavailable until his contract dispute with the club is resolved.

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