Exclusive Sean Gregan column

PNE boss Simon Grayson makes his views known to Hull counterpart Steve Bruce on the touchline at the KC Stadium

PNE boss Simon Grayson makes his views known to Hull counterpart Steve Bruce on the touchline at the KC Stadium

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Preston should not get too down about their defeat to Hull at the KC Stadium.

Hull are fresh down from the Premier League, awash with parachute money and it was always going to be a very difficult game there.

What PNE have to realise is that they are not going to be playing teams with Hull’s wealth and quality every week.

Looking at their squad on Saturday, Tom Huddlestone was only an unused substitute. I’m sure he is the type of the player who clubs in the Premier League will be after, yet Hull could afford to leave him sitting on the bench.

Sometimes you have to be realistic and realise that there will be tough days in among the good times.

This was one of those days and is a reality of stepping up a division after promotion.

Now we have reached the first international break of the season, this is a good time to reflect on how North End have started life in the higher division.

Personally, I think they have done okay. Five points from five games and two wins in the League Cup is a steady enough start.

They have played some big sides in this first few weeks, Middlesbrough, Ipswich and Hull.

If you finish above Boro and Hull in May, you will go up automatically or at the very least be in the play-offs.

There is a long way to go and Preston have a platform to build on when the fixtures resume next month.

Hopefully before Monday evening’s transfer deadline, there will be some incoming business done at Deepdale to help make North End even more competitive in the Championship.

The injury to Jermaine Beckford makes the need for another striker a necessity.

In losing Beckford to what looks like quite a long-term knee injury, a lot of goals have been taken out of the team.

I’m sure Simon Grayson planned to have Beckford and Joe Garner as his first-choice strikers.

So to have only had Garner up there so far, and for the next few weeks at least, will be frustrating for Grayson.

Beckford guarantees you goals – he has scored at every level – so he needs replacing.

The lack of goals is the one area which is a concern at the moment – two in the league and four in the cup.

Although international breaks can sometimes be a major inconvenience, I think this one has come at a good time for Grayson.

The schedule since the start of the season has been unforgiving with weekend and midweek games all the way through.

A Saturday-Tuesday or a Sunday-Wednesday schedule means that a manager does not get to spend a great deal of time on the training ground with his players.

It is a case of recovering and then preparing for the next game with not much time in between.

Grayson is a manager who likes to play different systems and that needs time on the training pitch to get the squad used to what he wants.

He will give them a couple of days off to catch their breath after the intensive start and then be able to do some work on systems and tactics.

It might be the case that when future international breaks come about, they are a hindrance because the side has been playing well.

When you are on a good run, as a player you just want to get back out on the pitch as often as possible.

For the time being though, North End should see this as a welcome break and return refreshed against Derby.