PNE have strength in attack now

Joe Garner

Joe Garner

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Preston North End manager Simon Grayson is pleased to have been able to give Joe Garner some company up front in the shape of new signings Eoin Doyle and Stevie May.

In recent weeks, Garner has had to plough a lone furrow in the Lilywhites attack, but that looks set to change for the visit of Derby to Deepdale today.

Injuries of late to Jermaine Beckford and Will Keane, together with Jordan Hugill’s suspension, left PNE light in attacking numbers towards the end of last month.

Garner played down the middle by himself in the games against Ipswich, Watford and Hull, support coming from the wings and from midfielders pushing up.

Keane had been forced to sit out the Ipswich and Watford matches with a knock, returning as a substitute for the visit to Hull.

Beckford managed to make the bench for two of those games but has since had knee surgery which will rule him out for a number of months.

Although Hugill was back in the squad at Hull after serving a three-game ban, a knee injury suffered against Everton in the Lancashire Senior Cup will sideline him today.

So the arrivals of Doyle and May on transfer deadline day were timely to say the least.

Grayson told the Evening Post: “When the games are coming thick and fast, you can fit these lads into the starting line-up or have them coming off the bench.

“The different options are great for me, I would rather have them instead of just having Joe on his own in the squad which we have had a couple of times this season.

“This is a demanding league and we need to keep people fresh, especially at the top end of the pitch.

“Whether we play one, two, three up there, or one in the hole, we will try and do what we think is right.

“You can sometimes win games with the firepower you have coming off the bench.

“May and Doyle are strikers who predominantly play down the middle but they are both adaptable – they can play off the main striker or as part of a front three.

“It is a nice problem to have in terms of who to select and it is an area of the pitch where we can now mix and match.

“Joe will enjoy playing up front with Stevie and Eoin in whatever way we chose to use them.”

The signings of May and Doyle took the number of arrivals during the summer window to nine.

Grayson has the emergency loan market to fall back on should he need to do any more business before January.

“It is not a necessity at the moment but the loan market is an option for us,” he said.

Meanwhile, Preston have loaned out goalkeeper Jamie Jones and defender Ben Davies.

Jones, 26, has joined Colchester United on a 93-day loan, while Davies has gone to Southport for a month in search of first-team experience.