Beckford opener gets nod from Snods

Jermaine Beckford's goal in the first leg of the play-offs against Chesterfield caught PNE No.2 Glynn Snodin's eye

Jermaine Beckford's goal in the first leg of the play-offs against Chesterfield caught PNE No.2 Glynn Snodin's eye

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It is a safe assumption that Preston striker Jermaine Beckford will walk off with a handful of awards for his 45-yard goal in the home leg of the play-offs against Chesterfield.

The shot from just inside the Spireites’ half was spontaneous and executed with inch-perfect accuracy, capping a fine win which sent PNE to Wembley.

Lilywhites assistant manager Glynn Snodin is a bigger fan, though, of the goal Beckford scored in the first leg.

Do no misunderstand him, he was cheering as loudly as anyone when the long-distance clincher sailed in.

But in Snodin’s book, that one at the Proact Stadium just about edged it.

“I really enjoyed Jermaine’s goal in the first leg, it was fantastic,” Snodin told the Evening Post.

“The chances when players are one-on-one are the hardest of the lot.

“When strikers have that bit more time to think, the chance can be more difficult.

“Every credit to Jermaine, he would have had it in his mind as soon as he went clear what he was going to do.

“The little lift over the keeper was something I could watch over and over again.

“It takes a lot of confidence and belief to do that.

“That is what Jermaine is all about – once his confidence levels are up, he is a handful for any defence at any level.”

Snodin has been working on and off with Beckford for the last six-and-a-half years.

He and Simon Grayson inherited the front man when they took over at Leeds in December 2008.

Their success in getting promoted from League One in May 2010 has been well documented.

Beckford had a loan spell with Huddersfield when Grayson and Snodin were No.1 and No.2 there.

It was friends reunited a third time last November when Beckford joined North End on loan from Bolton Wanderers for the remainder of the season.

Snodin said: “Jermaine is a goalscorer – they are hard to find so to have him in our squad is a fantastic bonus.

“There will be afternoons when the lad can have had four or five chances in an hour and not stuck one away.

“Suddenly he will pop up and stick a shot into the net and he’s up and running.

“It would be interesting to see how many points his goals have helped us get since he came on loan.

“There are some people who don’t know Jermaine who, for whatever reason, think he is an arrogant type.

“That is simply not the case at all, he’s a lovely kid, an absolute diamond.

“He just needs some loving, like we all do.

“How do you get the best out of your players? You treat them right for starters. If you treat players like adults, they generally do very well for you.

“We treat Jermaine like an adult, show him the respect he deserves.

“His goals record here shows the lad had responded exactly the right way to that.

“He puts a shift in, he will chase back and lurk in dangerous areas, he likes to run in behind defences.”

The intensity of the build-up to Sunday’s play-off final will go up a few more notches in these next couple of days.

Beckford was informed at the end of last week that he would be released by Bolton when he contract runs out on June 30.

That will have come as little surprise to the 31-year-old, bearing in mind it is almost six months since he last played for the Trotters.

It is sensible to assume that North End are in pole position to sign him this summer, given how well he has played in recent months and that he has the trust of Grayson and Snodin.

Winning the 
play-off final against Swindon and getting back into the Championship would certainly help PNE finance a permanent move for Beckford.

Preston’s preparations for Wembley will this week see them train at Deepdale. All press and media duties are being done on Monday, the squad then having a clear run without any distractions.

When it comes to the final, Snodin will watch the action from his usual elevated position in stand.

It is a tradition which goes back to when he first teamed up with Grayson at Leeds.

Watching from the stand gives Snodin a different view to those on the touchline, with him in constant touch with John Dreyer on the bench by mobile phone.

His one venture to ground level came for the final few minutes of the first-leg win at Chesterfield.

In that time, Snodin managed to land himself a misconduct rap from the FA.

Both PNE and Chesterfield were also charged with failing to ensure their players conducted themselves in an orderly fashion – that all evolving around an incident in the 28th minute when Paul Gallagher was grabbed by the neck by Spireites midfielder Gary Roberts.

The outcome of the action should be known this week.

Said Snodin: “I’ll be upstairs again at Wembley – it keeps me calm being up there.

“You get a different view from the stand, a better view maybe than what you get down the touchline.

“The angle you get when you’re on the touchline can distort things slightly.

“When you are really close up to the play, it might look like a player only has a yard or two of room.

“But when you look at it from the stand, that player actually has far more room.

“I started sitting in the stand for games at Leeds because there were already three of us on the touchline wanting to give our piece.

“At first I hated it but it is something I have grown into it. It does keep me calm and it gives us a second pair of eyes in terms of the shape of the team and how the play is going.

“The only things I do miss are the celebrations after a goal or at the end of a match.

“When we score I want to be in the middle of it all but I end up having to give Ben Rhodes, our general manager, a hug!

“It is all about being part of a team and doing a specific job to help them do well.”