Simon Grayson is pleased with the performance levels of Preston North End goalkeeper Jamie Jones and believes he has settled in well at Deepdale.
Jones had big gloves to fill after Declan Rudd returned to parent club Norwich in the summer after spending a season-and-a-half on loan with the Lilywhites.
The former Leyton Orient shot-stopper caught the eye in Tuesday night’s win against Gillingham when he made two good saves at close quarters and displayed some safe handling in difficult windy conditions.
PNE boss Grayson told the Evening Post: “We were very fortunate to have had Declan for the period we did.
“A number of clubs would loved to have signed him during the summer but Norwich decided to keep him.
“We knew that we were going to get a very good keeper in Jamie.
“In the early part of the season Jamie didn’t have too much to do.
“But when he has been called upon in the last few games he has made the saves that ourselves and the supporters expect him to because he’s a good keeper.
“We are really pleased with Jamie and I don’t think anyone can have any complaints about the lads in the back four or five because we have the best defensive record in the division.
“I hope that he doesn’t have too many saves to make because it means the defence are doing a good job.
“The saves at Gillingham were good ones, he is a good communicator and a good shot-stopper.
“It was no mug that we signed in the summer, Jamie had played a lot of games, hence why we went for him.
“There were plenty of other options we could have gone for but Jamie was certainly one who was top of our list.”
Jones will wear the gloves in today’s Lancashire derby with Fleetwood at Deepdale, and on Tuesday night is set to face former club Orient.
Grayson, meanwhile, says there was no sense of panic when Scott Wiseman was a late pull-out from the side ahead of the Gillingham game.
The right-back felt some discomfort in his knee during the warm-up and had to be replaced at short notice by Scott Laird.
Said Grayson: “You do have measures in mind should you lose players during a game and it was just a case of having to change things before kick-off against Gillingham.
“It was quite early in the warm-up that Wiseman pulled out so we got Lairdy over to join in with the rest of the players who were starting.
“A bit earlier Jack Ryan had been sat in the dressing room as 19th man and I’d told him to put some kit on and go and do a warm-up just to keep his fitness levels ticking over.
“Before Jack knew it he had been promoted to the 18 and got a place on the bench.
“Maybe the manager got a premonition!”
PNE now have Ben Davies back in the squad after the young defender returned from a youth loan at Tranmere.
Grayson said: “The loan ran out on Wednesday night and we just felt we needed to have another body here because of the injuries we’ve had.”