PNE have strength on the bench

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Simon Grayson believes that the strength in depth of the Preston North End squad has played a big part in them being firmly involved in the League One promotion hunt.

PNE’s 1-0 away victory over Shrewsbury at Greenhous Meadow yesterday, cemented fourth place in the table.

Celebrate: John Welsh and Paul Gallagher enjoy Preston's winner at Shrewsbury

Celebrate: John Welsh and Paul Gallagher enjoy Preston's winner at Shrewsbury

They are five points off new leaders Brentford but have cut the gap on Leyton Orient and Wolves to four points.

And Grayson’s men have a five-point advantage over fifth-placed Peterborough.

Grayson had the luxury of starting yesterday’s game with Paul Gallagher, Iain Hume, Lee Holmes and Stuart Beavon on the bench.

He was also able to give Jack King the afternoon off to rest his injured right foot.

“Success that you might get is based on what you have in the squad,” said Lilywhites manager Grayson.

“Look at our bench yesterday – Hume, Beavon, Holmes and Gallagher are all attack-minded players who you could bring on to affect the game.

“They could get into most League One teams, if not Championships teams.

“We have a good squad here and there is a real camaraderie about it.

“There are several good players who did not even make the 18 yesterday.

“Jack King, Joel Byrom, Will Hayhurst and Jeffrey Monakana were in the stand.

“The reason I didn’t start Paul Gallagher is that he has not played a lot of football recently.

“Starting him two games running with not much time in between might have seen him pick up an injury.

“He was always going to get on at some stage and he ended up getting a decent amount of time on the pitch.

“Now he will be available to us in good shape against Port Vale on Wednesday.

“With Jack King, we have to manage his foot injury and that is why he wasn’t involved.

“A couple of days of recovery will see him back in contention for Port Vale.

“Another reason for leaving Jack out is that Paul Huntington and Tom Clarke were both on four yellow cards.

“If he had played and got injured, and one of the other two had been booked, we would have been short for Wednesday.

“As it happened, Hunts was booked and misses the next game ,so we need Jack.”

A 79th-minute own goal from Shrews right-back Ryan Woods gave North End the three points.

The teenager put through his own net trying to clear a cross from substitute Hume.

It was a rather ground-out win on Preston’s part, something which Grayson was quick to acknowledge.

He said: “You have to do whatever it takes to win matches.

“In the first half we weren’t good enough, we were second best when we had possession and when we didn’t.

“We just had to increase our quality and we knew that we had the fire-power available on the bench to change it.

“I asked the lads to move the ball quicker and stop Shrewsbury dictating.

“Full credit to the players for responding to what I asked them to do.”