PNE loanee Craig is a handful

Craig Davies has added strength to the Preston attack
Craig Davies has added strength to the Preston attack
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Preston North End boss Simon Grayson wants more of the same from Craig Davies after his powerful display in midweek against Rotherham.

The on-loan striker scored his second goal in North End colours during the 3-3 draw with the Millers.

And this afternoon (3pm) he will lead the attack with Joe Garner when PNE host Walsall at Deepdale.

North End boss Grayson told the Evening Post: “Craig was strong and powerful on Tuesday night, everything I expect of a player who is capable of causing defenders problems.

“The goal he scored was outstanding and his hold-up play very good.

“Craig is a real handful to play against, with him being big and quick.

“That is the reason why we brought him to the club and he will be a big player for us.

“In the Rotherham game he was up against Claude Davis and Kari Arnason, who are decent defenders.

“But he and Joe Garner gave them a tough game once we got into our stride.”

Davies, 28, has started five games since joining from Bolton a month ago for the rest of the season.

He has scored twice and won two penalties in that time, bringing more physical power to the front line.

On the fitness front, North End have received some decent news in relation to skipper John Welsh.

The midfielder has missed the last two games after taking a heavy knock to his knee in the goalless draw at MK Dons.

But while he is still expected to miss today’s game, the damage is not too serious.

He had a scan on Tuesday and that has showed up just some bruising, rather than any significant problem.

Said Grayson: “John has got a bit of bone bruising on his knee, so he will be a doubt again for this one.

“But it isn’t anything serious that is going to keep him out for long.”

Grayson, meanwhile, has defended his side – and himself – against criticism that they sit too deep to defend leads.

Some fans voiced frustration after the Rotherham draw, which saw North End battle back from being 2-0 down to lead 3-2, only to concede an 88th-minute equaliser.

“It does surprise me when people say we’ve become defensive at the back end of the game,” said Grayson.

“You should at some time give the opposition credit.

“If they are throwing six players up front, should we just leave a back four there and go six versus four?

“Of course not, you have to bring players back and it becomes difficult to get out easily.

“If the boot was on the other foot and we were going for the game, I would have five players up front as well, going for the game, getting it up there and hopefully you get a bit of a break.

“The last goal on Tuesday night was a really soft, unfortunate goal.

“Believe me, we don’t ask the players to sit back and it does frustrate me when I 
hear people saying that about my teams.”