PNE have special ‘K’

Key role: Kevin Davies adds crucial experience

Key role: Kevin Davies adds crucial experience

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Simon Grayson has praised the link-up role which Kevin Davies performed well in Preston North End’s FA Cup clash at Ipswich.

Davies, 36, took the plaudits after tucking away North End’s equaliser at Portman Road. But Lilywhites boss Grayson felt that the front man deserved just as much praise for other aspects of his play.

Grayson told the Evening Post: “Kevin showed a real calmness with his finish and has scored plenty of goals like that in his career.

“We know his strengths and weaknesses – we are not going to get him to work the channels, for example.

“But what we do is get the ball into him so that we have a base to play off.

“At Ipswich, we had the two wide lads – Paul Gallagher and Lee Holmes – coming off the line and linking with Kevin.

“Iain Hume was feeding off him, and what you find with Kevin is that his experience rubs off on others.

“It is good to have the different options up front.

On Saturday, we were able to bring back Kevin and give our leading scorer Joe Garner a rest on the bench.”

Until Christmas, Davies had started every League One game for North End this season.

Suspension ruled him out of the Boxing Day win at Carlisle, before he reclaimed his place for the visit to Shrewsbury.

Grayson opted to put Davies on the bench until the latter stages of the New Year’s Day victory over Port Vale, with Garner and Hume filling the attacking berths. Who starts up front at Wolves this weekend will be a big decision for Grayson.

The most likely pairing is Davies and Garner, which provides a combination of experience and goals.

The visit to Molineux is one of five scheduled matches for North End in the remainder of January.

It is followed by the replay with Ipswich a week tonight, before they host Coventry at Deepdale.

What happens on January 25 is dependant on the Ipswich replay.

Should PNE win, they go to Nottingham Forest in the fourth round.

If they lose, Grayson’s men are due at MK Dons in the league, although MK could be in cup action themselves if they beat Wigan in a replay.

The month is rounded off by a midweek visit to Bradford on January 28.

Meanwhile, Preston striker Chris Beardsley has extended his loan at Bristol Rovers until the end of the season.

Beardsley initially joined Rovers on loan at the end of October.

The loan ran until Sunday and a fresh deal has been agreed.

Former PNE boss Graham Westley showed an interest recently in taking him back to Stevenage but Beardsley opted to stay with the Pirates.

There have been mixed fortunes for two of the other players loaned out by Preston.

Graham Cummins played his part in Rochdale’s FA Cup giantkilling win over Leeds, the Irishman setting up Dale’s second goal.

But Shane Cansdell-Sherriff is facing a spell on the sidelines after fracturing his cheekbone playing for Burton Albion.