Grayson is still upbeat

PNE hope to have Jermaine Beckford back in action this weekend

PNE hope to have Jermaine Beckford back in action this weekend

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Simon Grayson remains pleased with Preston’s progress and form, despite dropping points in their last two home matches.

The Lilywhites were held to draws by Burton Albion and Wolves at Deepdale on successive weekends.

Their Championship form has seen them lose only one of their last 10 games, with a visit to Sheffield Wednesday their next slice of action on Saturday.

North End boss Grayson said: “Every point in the Championship is hard fought, no one gives you an easy ride.

“Teams will do whatever they think is required to get something from a game.

“Nigel Clough changed the shape of Burton’s team at the weekend, both to benefit them and to try and stifle us.

“It works both ways, we have changed things when we’ve played teams and got results.

“We are in a decent position. To be where we are in the league after the start we had is quite pleasing.

“I would like us to be higher up, it was frustrating to have drawn against Burton and Wolves.

“On paper, everyone would have been thinking they were two games we should have won, but it doesn’t always work like that.

“We’ll add the point taken against Burton to our collection and move on.

“The Championship is a demanding league, you have to earn the right in any game.”

PNE’s visit to Hillsborough will be a tough assignment, the Owls having got back to winning ways on Saturday with a 2-0 victory over Wolves at Molineux – their first win in four matches.

The result lifted last season’s beaten play-off finalists up to seventh place in the table.

Grayson will hope to be able to call on the services of Jermaine Beckford for the trip to South Yorkshire.

The experienced front man has been limited to just seven appearances this season, three of those starts.

A hamstring injury kept him sidelined for two months, with Beckford returning to come off the bench in the games against Newcastle and Rotherham.

He suffered a thigh strain in training a fortnight ago.

Said Grayson: “We’re hoping Jermaine will be back training and available for next weekend.

“We were also without Paul Gallagher against Burton.

“Gally and Becks are two players who you would like to have in and around your squad for every game and both were a miss at the weekend.”

North End certainly missed Gallagher’s creativity in the Burton game as they bossed possession in the second half but failed to get behind the Brewers’ defence.

It was a calf strain which kept him out of the game and his fitness will be assessed as the week goes on.

John Welsh should not be too far away from action after six weeks out with a torn calf.

He suffered the injury in the 2-2 draw at Brighton last month and early December was suggested as a return date.