PNE boss reveals selection headache after victory over Wigan

Preston players celebrate Jordan Hugill's opener

Preston players celebrate Jordan Hugill's opener

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Simon Grayson admitted it had been a tough job selecting the Preston North End team for last night’s victory over Wigan.

The North End boss was mindful of a number of good displays in Tuesday night’s win at Bournemouth.

He had to balance that with the fact that game had gone to extra-time and fresh legs were needed to face Wigan

He picked four starters from that game for the televised clash – Simon Makienok, Bailey Wright, Greg Cunningham and Chris Maxwell keeping their places.

An early goal from Jordan Hugill gave them a 1-0 win at Deepdale, PNE having to cope with plenty of pressure from the visitors in the first half before getting to grips with them better after the interval.

Grayson told the Evening Post: “It was difficult selecting the team.

“Those players who played on Tuesday at Bournemouth did ever so well.

“We made a few changes last night which worked and those who came in did well.

“There were one or two of Tuesday’s side who probably would have started again had this game been today.

“But they had not quite fully recovered, considering they had played 120 minutes just a few days before.

“It just shows what we have got in the group, we have a team and a squad who are in it together.

“John Welsh was probably one of our better players at Bournemouth but we decided to give him a breather.”

North End’s winner had an element of good fortune about it, a shot from Aiden McGeady hitting Hugill on the knees and re-directing the ball past the Wigan goalkeeper.

Grayson was full of praise for the goalscorer’s work rate over the 90 minutes and was pleased to see find the net.

“We will accept a goal like that, it doesn’t matter how they go in,” said Grayson.

“I thought we started the game really well and when Paul Gallagher put a cross into the box, Tom Clarke kept it alive and Geads had the shot which hit Jordan.

“It is nice to have that little bit of luck which maybe we have not had this season.

“We looked like we did last season in that we were disciplined, organised and played from the shape.

“Full credit to Jordan in that he led the line ever so well.

“He was a major outlet for us, as was Simon Makienok who was up there with him.

“Midway through the second half we took Simon off and went to a three in the middle to match Wigan up, stifle their possession.

“We looked quite comfortable after that, Chris Maxwell didn’t have too much to do towards the end.

“It was a tough game, we knew how Wigan were going to play – they were going to have a lot of possession and I think the statistics will prove that.

“But I think over the course of the game we had the clearer chances.

“We had to be resilient as well, hard-working and the players have reacted well from the Brentford defeat.”