NORTH End will put faith in young hands this weekend with Andrew Lonergan expected to appear between the sticks for the first time this season.

Lonergan had been due to play in last Saturday's game at Sunderland's Stadium of Light after Jonathan Gould was ruled out with a thigh strain.

That game was game was cancelled due to a water-logged pitch following a week of atrocious weather on Wearside.

And while Lonergan was left ruing the weather all the way back to Preston, it is widely expected he'll appear in front of a home crowd against West Brom this weekend. Gould's injury is expected to keep him out for another week.

Brown said: "He could maybe have played last weekend but he couldn,t have handled the backpass, especially on a heavy surface.

"Andrew could be in next week, with David Lucas, loan to Sheffield Wednesday lasting until February 13."

If Lonergan, born in Preston and educated in Longridge, does play at the weekend, it will be his first performance since his man-of-the-match effort against Watford in April 2001.

Lonergan told the club's website this week: "I knew something would happen so I didn't play against Sunderland. I had the feeling that something would go wrong. I couldn't believe I was getting my chance, but maybe next week."

The England U-20 star was reported to have demanded a loan or transfer away from Deepdale earlier in the season as he grew frustrated at the lack of opportunity to impress.

But given that Brown had the option to recall Lucas in time for last Saturday's game, Lonergan has opted to take the fact faith was put in him as a great compliment.

Of course, if Gould doesn't recover, he'll miss the chance to come face-to-face with controversial striker Lee Hughes, whose spectacular theatricals on Bank Holiday Monday resulted in a red card for the Scot.

Hughes put in an Oscar-winning performance to fool the referee into thinking he had been up-ended by Gould in the box at the Hawthornes.

Gould was sent off as a result, and Hughes scored the resulting penalty. Despite being charged late last year with causing death by dangerous driving following an alleged incident near Coventry, bald Hughes has continued to play for the Baggies.

Saturday could also see a debut for Craig Burley, who signed on a short-term deal last week.