Simon Grayson is willing Preston North End attacker Paul Gallagher to turn last week’s improved performance into a consistent run of form, starting with the visit to Coventry City tomorrow.
Gallagher had more of an impact in the 2-0 victory over Crawley than he had done in previous games and PNE boss Grayson sees him as key to his side’s forward play.
At the Ricoh Arena he is likely to operate in a front three with a licence to get on the ball anywhere along the forward line.
Grayson told the Evening Post: “Gally was getting frustrated more than anyone, knowing that he can perform better than he was.
“Last week he went looking for the ball, which is something you don’t tend to do if you aren’t playing as well as you can do.
“Gally made us tick against Crawley – there was some good interplay between the midfield three and the front three. Hopefully he can replicate that performance at Coventry and in the games after that.
“When someone plays with confidence, they go looking for the ball and want to get on it.
“If Gally gets on the ball and plays well, the team does too because he’s a good footballer.
“He is like Neil Kilkenny in the respect because Kila gets us going to. When it comes to the front thre,e I tell them to move around and drop into different areas – I don’t want them to play in straight lines.
“Hopefully Gally’s display last week was the start of some more good performances from him.
“He is having to work hard to stay in the team because there are some other lads pushing him hard. Gally is looking over his shoulder at Kyel Reid who is back now and Callum Robinson – he looked sharp this week.”
North End could have Andy Little and John Welsh back in contention at Coventry after spells on the sidelines.
David Buchanan’s fitness was being assessed today after getting a knock on the back of his leg in the Crawley win.
Assessing PNE’s casualty list, Grayson said: “Injuries happen and you have to deal with them. Last season we had a clean bill of health for large parts but we’ve had a few more this time.
“If they were all muscular injuries then you would have a look at some of the sessions and the recovery.
“But most of the injuries aren’t like that. You can’t do much about Kevin Davies getting one in the rib cage and cracking a rib.
“Jordan Hugill landed awkwardly and did his knee, while Buchanan’s injury was more of a knock from a tackle rather than a strain.”
Grayson is pleased to be able to take his side to the Ricoh tomorrow rather than Northampton’s Sixfields, where Coventry were lodging until earlier this month.
He said: “In a way I’m glad they are back at the Ricoh for their supporters and the club.
“The bigger stadium might suit us more with the bigger pitch and open spaces to play.
“Coventry are a good team – we know about the energy levels and quality they have got and how they break quickly.
“They have pace and power about them with Frank Nouble and Simeon Jackson.”