PNE striker was handed a breather

Preston North End's Callum Robinson
Preston North End's Callum Robinson
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Simon Grayson felt the time was right for Callum Robinson to get a breather after a long run of starts in the Preston North End.

The front man was moved to the bench for the midweek defeat at Cardiff, although did see action as a 66th minute substitute.

Only twice had Robinson not started a Championship game this season – the first two games of the campaign.

North End boss Grayson said: “I think it was the right time for him to have a rest.

“We looked at the situation and Callum in the last couple of games had probably been a little bit below the very high standards he had set himself.

“I’m not trying to say it was a major dip but sometimes it is good for players to have a breather both mentally and physically.

“Callum had started the last 20-odd games which is not bad for a lad who only turned 22 this week. Mentally it can be a little bit relentless.

“Whether he comes back at Barnsley, we will see.”

Grayson has liked what Robinson has produced since he signed permanently for North End in July after three loan spells.

The former Aston Villa man has also caught the eye of others, with a bumper bid for him having been turned down in the last few days of the transfer window.

Robinson is PNE’s second highest scorer with seven goals, six of those in the league.

Said Grayson: “We saw enough potential when we had Callum here on loan.

“A few people were a bit surprised when we took him full-time in the summer but I have liked working with him.

“I spoke with Callum the other day, asked him what he thought about having got as far as he has.

“He was a bit surprised but he enjoying himself.

“We are pleased with what he has been contributing but he has to keep on working hard to progress.”

Robinson is among a core of players who Grayson thinks will help carry PNE forward.

“We are building for the future, we are not a club which is short-sighted about the way it wants to go,” said Grayson.

“We will pay realistic fees and wages, while as a coaching staff we will try to improve the players here.

“If we can keep them together and add to them with both young and experienced players along the way, it can only bode well.

“We have an owner who has backed us when it comes to not selling players.

“Here we have young players who we think can improve, if I didn’t think that we would have taken the money.”

Meanwhile, Grayson has praised North End’s youth team who this week reached the last eight of the FA Youth Cup for the first time in more than half a century.

A 3-2 extra-time win over AFC Wimbledon at Deepdale on Wednesday night carried them to the quarter-final.

They will host Stoke City in the last eight, the Potters having beaten Brighton 4-2 on penalties on Friday night after the game finished 2-2.

Grayson said: “They have done brilliantly.

“I have seen four FA Youth Cup games this season, three here at Preston and one at Blackburn where my son is, and all of them have gone to extra-time.

“I told them after the game that they had done themselves and the club proud.

“To get to the quarter final as the small academy we are, speaks volumes for them and the work done by Nick Harrison and his staff.

“A lot of bigger teams have been knocked out and it is the first time in more than 50 years that our youth team has got this far.”