Gally aiming for PNE start

Paul Gallagher shields the ball from Blackburn striker Sam Gallagher at Ewood Park
Paul Gallagher shields the ball from Blackburn striker Sam Gallagher at Ewood Park
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Paul Gallagher’s contribution in helping Preston secure a draw with Blackburn could well earn him a starting place when action resumes after the international break.

The midfielder joined the action from the bench after 75 minutes with PNE trailing 2-1 at Ewood Park.

Gallagher got them on the front foot in those latter stages of the derby clash and it was his killer pass, threaded through the Rovers back line, which led to the 
93rd-minute leveller from 
Aiden McGeady.

North End manager Simon Grayson had started with Ben Pearson and Daniel Johnson as the partnership in the centre of midfield.

The arrival of Gallagher in place of Johnson saw them switch to a 3-4-1-2 and got more of a grip in the middle.

Grayson said: “We were just a little bit too open and when we got it back we were in too much of a rush to try and get into their 18-yard box.

“We needed a couple more passes in there and you saw what a difference Gally made.

“He gives you that pass and picks people out.

“A couple of minutes before the equaliser, he put the ball in for Paul Huntington’s header, which was ruled offside.

“That was a great ball and to be honest, I think Hunts was offside.

“When you make certain selection decisions, you know the strength on the bench too, which can allow you to change things and affect the game.

“Ben Pearson and DJ had done well, especially against Reading the week before, and that’s why we kept the same team to start at Blackburn.

“We know what we’ve got within the group and we know that we can change it.

“We can change system and whoever we pick will always give their best.”

Grayson has gone with 
a few different combinations in midfield over the last few weeks.

Pearson and Alan Browne played the matches against Barnsley, Brentford, Birmingham and Wigan.

It was Browne and Johnson for the Queens Park Rangers and Fulham games, before Pearson and Gallagher were paired together at Derby.

Gallagher missed the win over Reading with a knock to his knee, which saw a recall for Johnson next to Pearson.

Injuries have limited the involvement of Gallagher in the team since November.

A calf strain sustained in the 0-0 draw with Wolves on November 19 kept him on the sidelines until Christmas.

He played all the games in January before missing five games with sciatica.