STEVE Robinson became the latest casualty as Preston face a crisis in midfield.

The 26-year-old, who has also been filling in as striker this term since his £375,000 move from Bournemouth in the summer, hurt his ankle during a behind closed doors friendly in Scotland on Tuesday.

It means North End manager David Moyes is short in the middle of the park following the £750,000 sale of Michael Appleton to West Brom and skipper Sean Gregan is also sidelined.

Gregan, who has been playing in defence this term but has been called into midfield action when necessary, has had an operation to remove a piece of cartilage from his knee and will be out for at least four weeks.

"I guess we will be a bit stretched," admitted Moyes, whose is preparing his side for their trip to Portsmouth a week on Saturday.

"Steve hurt his ankle during a friendly match. It was a twist and sprain and we will need to assess it. It's unlikely he'll be fit for the Portsmouth clash.

"But Sean has done some cycling. We will only know if the operation's a success when he starts running. But again it's four to six weeks.

"But we have one or two people who can play in midfield -- Paul McKenna, Mark Rankine, Brian Barry-Murphy -- they are all capable of going in there. Rob Edwards has also played there as well."

And he has not ruled out the addition of 35-year-old Peter Beagrie from Bradford who's been linked with a move to Deepdale.

"It is somebody I have enquired about. I spoke to Jim Jeffries about him. It is not something I want to speak about at the moment."

Preston have been on a mini-break to Scotland, where they've played friendlies against Kilmarnock and Motherwell, while Moyes has also taken part in an old firm testimonial which Celtic lost 4-1.

"It was fantastic playing in front of crowds of 50,000 and it was an honour to be asked," said the 37-year-old.

"I never thought I'd get to play in a old firm derby again."

But he ruled out making a comeback even though he's still registered as a player at Deepdale. "I've got some good players at the club so they can do the job for me!"

Moyes has felt the trip to his home country has done the North End players some good as they look to bounce back at Pompey after five successive defeats.

"The trip has given us time to regroup and try and get back to our early season form.

"I think the lads will feel quite good about themselves. They've had a few games and are feeling much better."

Striker Bjarki Gunnlaugsson also played in both games but will still see a specialist about a long term hip problem.