Kilkenny: PNE need to find killer touch

Daniel Johnson  celebrates his equaliser with PNE winger Chris Humphrey
Daniel Johnson celebrates his equaliser with PNE winger Chris Humphrey
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Neil Kilkenny believes Preston North End ace Joe Garner will light up the league when he finally opens his Championship goalscoring account.

Garner had several opportunities in Saturday’s 2-1 defeat against Ipswich at Deepdale but failed to hit the back of the net.

Clinical Ipswich scored two of their four chances, compared to PNE’s one goal from Daniel Johnson as the side had 16 attempts.

In fact, North End have only scored twice in their opening four league games despite having 48 efforts on goal.

Midfield maestro Kilkenny says PNE need to start hitting the back of the net.

But he believes the goals will start flying in now Jermaine Beckford has recovered from a knee injury and backed Garner to start hitting the net.

He said: “We know Jermaine has got goals in him and that is what we need. That is one thing we probably need to improve on over the next couple of games.

“We are creating chances – it is just about putting them away now.

“Obviously we know if he gets opportunities he will score.

“Joe Garner is getting there now and hopefully he will get off the mark. I think if he gets off the mark he will go on.”

Brett Pitman was the first man to score against PNE in the league this season with a neat header.

But Ryan Fraser’s first-time curling effort stole the show and earned the Tractor Boys all three points.

But former Birmingham man Kilkenny says PNE should take heart from the performance against the league leaders and believes that if PNE can follow Town’s example of ruthless finishing, they too will rise up the table.

He said: I think they had three chances and scored twice, obviously two great finishes from them. For the second goal, you have to hold your hands up and say brilliant finish.

“Fair play to Ipswich, they are a good team, well organised. I think we have come into the season feeling confident – we know we have some good players and we will create opportunities but obviously we need to score.

“Over the first four games you have seen that we don’t concede many chances.

“The lads were talking about it. We knew we played well and that we were right in there until the end, so we keep our heads up.

“In the Championship every game is really hard work..

“The difference from League One) is more in the final third. One or two opportunities and they will score, we found that out on Saturday. We all feel that we are good enough for the Championship and I feel that over the season we will show that.

“Hopefully we will be right up there.”

The game was Kilkenny’s first league start of the season and he is relishing playing a more attacking role as John Welsh has started to sit in front of the back line.

And the 29-year-old Aussie hopes to part in North End’s League Cup clash against Watford tomorrow.

He said: “I’m happy and glad to be back in.

“Welshy is sitting in front of the back line a bit more now and it gives me a bit of licence to go forward so, hopefully I can get on the scoresheet a bit more.

“Hopefully I can do that and stay in the team.”