PNE boss hails Davies

Preston North End's Kevin Davies in action during todays match    Photographer Kevin Barnes/CameraSport  Football - The Football League Sky Bet League One - Crewe Alexandra v Preston North End - Sunday 28th December 2014 - Alexandra Stadium - Crewe  � CameraSport - 43 Linden Ave. Countesthorpe. Leicester. England. LE8 5PG - Tel: +44 (0) 116 277 4147 - admin@camerasport.com - www.camerasport.com

Preston North End's Kevin Davies in action during todays match Photographer Kevin Barnes/CameraSport Football - The Football League Sky Bet League One - Crewe Alexandra v Preston North End - Sunday 28th December 2014 - Alexandra Stadium - Crewe � CameraSport - 43 Linden Ave. Countesthorpe. Leicester. England. LE8 5PG - Tel: +44 (0) 116 277 4147 - admin@camerasport.com - www.camerasport.com

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Preston North End manager Simon Grayson believes that striker Kevin Davies hitting the goal trail would be the ‘icing on the cake’ after his recent displays.

The 37-year-old front man has forced his way back into the Lilywhites side of late, starting the last four games.

He completed 90 minutes in all four, even with just a day’s break between the Christmas matches against Barnsley and Crewe.

The opportunity for Davies to start games has come about since Joe Garner’s injury.

Jermaine Beckford initially filled the lone striker’s role which Garner had been playing, before Grayson gave him some company in the shape of Davies for the MK Dons game on December 13.

Those two have started to forge a decent partnership, Davies setting up Beckford’s equaliser at Crewe on Sunday.

Grayson told the Evening Post: “The only reason why Kevin wasn’t starting earlier in the season was that we were playing a different system with one up front.

“Ultimately, when you have Joe Garner fit and available, he is going to be your No.1 striker and he did that job well.

“Kevin was getting bit parts which was probably a little frustrating for him.

“He has kept himself fit and hungry, his attitude has been great and his performances have been of the highest order.

“The icing on the cake would be a few more goals for him. I’m sure that he is not far away from scoring if he keeps putting in the performances.

“People are talking about him needing one more goal to make it 150 career goals but I don’t reckon that is playing on his mind too much.

“I’m pleased with his all round performance and if he carries on playing like he does and others are scoring, I will take that all day long.”

Grayson admitted to being a touch surprised that Davies lasted the whole of the Crewe game.

“I think he surprised us all by keeping on going, every credit to him,” said the North End boss.

“Before the game I spoke to him about playing and Kevin said his body felt fine.

“It was a case of seeing how long he could go on for and throughout the course of the second half I kept asking him he was still okay.

“We kept getting the thumbs up back from him and he was right in the thick of the action up to the end.

“Kevin plays in a certain way in that he holds the ball up and doesn’t run quite as much as some of the other players.

“That has been his style all of his career but he still works hard for the team.

“Defenders don’t like being against him, whether that is in League One, the Championship or Premier League.”

It was a reduced-sized PNE squad which Grayson had for training yesterday.

A few players showing the effects of a virus which has been doing the rounds, were sent home in an effort to stop it spreading.

Scott Wiseman and Kyel Reid both missed the Barnsley game on Boxing Day through illness.

The whole squad have today off before reporting in for training tomorrow.