First goal in the bank for PNE striker

ACROBATIC: Sylvan Ebanks-Blake goes close to grabbing a winner for North End against Yeovil Town with an overhead kick
ACROBATIC: Sylvan Ebanks-Blake goes close to grabbing a winner for North End against Yeovil Town with an overhead kick
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One of the few positives to come out of Preston North End’s draw with Yeovil was a first goal in club colours for Sylvan Ebanks-Blake.

he striker found the net within 10 minutes of his introduction as a substitute to rescue a point.

Signed on New Year’s Day on a contract until the end of the season, this was his fourth sub appearance.

PNE manager Simon Grayson told the Evening Post: “We wanted to give Sylvan the chance to get a goal and he delivered.

“The lad has been working hard on his fitness in training and we knew he wouldn’t have to do a load of running when he went on.

“He had to be quite instinctive and look for the ball dropping to him in the box and crosses coming over into the middle.

“You could see Sylvan’s quality with the overhead kick which nearly won us it late on.

“He is showing good signs and hopefully there are lots more goals and performances to come.

“During the game our strikers had been inches or half-a-yard away from getting the ball into the back of the net.

“Sometimes you have to put a different kind of striker in there to freshen it up.

“The centre-halves can get used to who they are playing against so you change it to try and get something out of it.”

Ebanks-Blake’s goal came about after he latched on to a flick from Kevin Davies, took the ball past Yeovil keeper Jed Steer and then ran it over the line.

It was the first time he had been on the scoresheet in a competitive game for 21 months, since he scored twice in Wolves’ 3-2 victory over Birmingham on April 1, 2013.

He suffered a broken leg later in that game at St Andrews and was to leave Wolves at the end of that season following their relegation from the Championship.

For the first half of the 2013/14 campaign, Ebanks-Blake was without a club as he recovered from the leg fracture.

Last January he joined Ipswich on a deal until the end of the season, playing 10 games.

He started this season without a club before coming to Preston on trial at the end of November.

Whether Ebanks-Blake is seen as sufficiently match sharp yet to start Saturday’s FA Cup fourth round tie with Sheffield United at Deepdale, remains to be seen.

The visit of the Blades, just two weeks after the sides met in the league at Bramall Lane, will be a real test of Preston’s character.

A run of one win in six matches since the end of December has clearly dented confidence.

Grayson said: “Confidence can be fragile in any sportsman.

“When things go wrong you can either work to change your fortune or you put your head in the sand and disappear. We will continue to work hard and get going on another good run.

“Now we have a break from the league. We have a game on Saturday in which we will be looking to get into the fifth round of the FA Cup.

“Then next week we go to Walsall in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.

“We started this week of games not in the positive manner that we would have liked to.

“We are not playing with that belief and confidence we were a few weeks ago. We need to try and gather that back very quickly.”