Grayson’s going for goals

Bringing in players like Aiden McGeady has help the goal potential at PNE
Bringing in players like Aiden McGeady has help the goal potential at PNE
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Simon Grayson says he made a conscious effort to get Preston scoring more goals this season after last term’s solid return to the Championship.

The Lilywhites have hit 38 league goals this season at the 30-game mark.

At the same stage last year, they had found the net 27 times.

The more open approach has resulted in more league goals being conceded – 37 compared to 28.

“It is very difficult for a side to come up from League One and be an all-out attacking team who is going to take the Championship by storm,” said Grayson.

“You could do that if you had the money to back it up and bring in top players straight away.

“Last season we felt we had to be solid and stable, with us doing business window by window, year by year.

“When you look at some of the players we have got now compared to a year ago, that has helped us score goals.

“If you’d said a year ago we would have Aiden McGeady here and players of that ilk, people would have laughed at us. We wanted to bring talented players to the club who could affect games, entertain the fans, bring some results and move us forward as a club.

“Scoring more goals was a conscious effort, we knew we had to do that this season and create more chances.

“Bringing in certain people has allowed us to do that.

“On the other side of the coin, we have become a little bit more open but sometimes you have to accept that will be the case.”

North End have shared the goals around, with 14 players scoring in the league.

Grayson acknowledges there is not a free-scoring striker on the books but has been encouraged by the form of Jordan Hugill and Callum Robinson this season.

“We haven’t got that striker who will definitely score you 20 goals but we have a lot of players chipping in,” said Grayson.

“Sometimes clubs like us have to do things a different way rather than get the ready-made one.

“Can one of the lads here push on and be that player who goes on to score more?

“We are hopeful of that and we have spoken a lot in the last few weeks about different players who have potential to crack on.

“You would like to think Callum Robinson and Jordan Hugill can progress and be that missing striker that everyone has wanted.”

On the fitness front, North End say they will monitor Marnick Vermijl on a game-by-game basis as they manage his hernia injury.

The Belgian missed the 2-0 defeat at Cardiff but was on the bench against Barnsley last week.

Said Grayson: “It is a case of managing Marnick.

“We’ve had a clear week of training and Marnick has done some work with us.

“We have got to get the balance right between not working him too hard and not getting enough work into him so that he is not ready to play if we need him.

“Marnick is certainly in the equation to start games.

“It is the same type of injury which Paul Gallagher had last year and he got through until the end of the season.

“What we will do is assess the situation on a Saturday-Tuesday basis.”

Meanwhile, Grayson gave several of his squad players a run-out in a bounce game at Wigan in midweek to top-up their match fitness.

Stevie May, Andy Boyle and Tom Barkhuizen were among those to feature.