LEON Cort will not line up against Burnley in Saturday’s Lancashire derby at Preston North End after being refused permission to play against his parent club.
Cort joined Preston on loan in November after falling out of the first-team picture under Brian Laws’ tenure at Turf Moor, and the deal was extended until the end of the season before the closure of the transfer window.
The 31-year-old has impressed at Deepdale since making the temporary switch, even if Preston continue to be rooted at the foot of the Championship table, but he will not be able to play against Burnley this weekend under the terms of the loan agreement.
David Nugent was similarly unable to face Portsmouth during his loan spell with the Clarets last season, although that was because of Premier League rules preventing players from featuring against their parent club.
There are no such rules in the Football League but clubs are allowed to come to an agreement that the player will not be involved.
Burnley took up that option when the loan period was extended to include this weekend’s Championship trip to Deepdale, which will be officiated by World Cup final referee Howard Webb.
Cort has been a regular for Preston, starting 11 matches, and his absence will mean North End boss Phil Brown has to alter his defence for what is always a much-anticipated derby match.
The central defender joined Burnley for £1.5m on a three-and-a-half-year contract last January but rarely featured for the Clarets this season and was sent off in his last appearance against Reading in October.
Since his departure Clarke Carlisle, Michael Duff and Andre Bikey have competed for the two centre back spots, although neither Carlisle or Duff produced their finest displays in Monday’s 5-1 FA Cup loss at West Ham United.