Sky Blue thinking for PNE boss

Return: Bailey Wright is likely to be back in Preston's side against Coventry
Return: Bailey Wright is likely to be back in Preston's side against Coventry
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Simon Grayson admits he has a tough weekend ahead of him in terms of picking the Preston North End team and getting the better of Coventry City at Deepdale.

The North End boss has selection issues of the right kind, with a fully fit squad to select from for the visit of the Sky Blues tomorrow (3pm).

He rested seven regulars for Tuesday’s FA Cup replay against Ipswich and still saw his side progress to the fourth round.

Skipper John Welsh, David Buchanan and Jack King all got the night off.

Joe Garner and Bailey Wright started on the bench, top scorer Garner turning the game on its head after his introduction with a hat-trick.

Centre-half Wright came on in stoppage time to help see the game out, with both he and Garner certain starters tomorrow.

New boy Scott Wiseman is another available option, the defender having been ineligible to face Ipswich.

Whatever team takes to the field will be given a big test by a Coventry side which Grayson rates highly.

The PNE boss said: “Coventry are an entertaining team and there are plenty of goals in their matches.

“They have got the problem of being minus 10 points – if they had those points they’d be in the play-off places by now.

“In the last couple of weeks they have had a few injuries which have knocked them.

“The lad Callum Wilson has done exceptionally well this season, while there has been talk of Leon Clarke leaving or not leaving.

“None of that is my problem, those are issues for Steven Pressley, who is a nice bloke. I have enough to deal with here.”

Striker Clarke, who had an under-whelming loan spell with North End in 2011, has been linked with a number of clubs since handing in a transfer request on Monday.

But contrary to rumours, no interest has been shown in him by Grayson.

“We haven’t been in for Leon Clarke at all,” Grayson said. “Whether he stays or not at Coventry is nothing to do with us.”

Grayson was pleased to have made progress in the FA Cup in midweek while still being able to give some of his players a well-deserved rest.

He is keen to keep his squad sharp, and some of them featured in a 3-3 draw against Blackburn at Brockhall yesterday, Stuart Beavon and Jack Ryan (2) on target.

“Quite a few of the lads had played a lot of football recently, so we decided to give some of them a rest in midweek,” said Grayson.

“Bailey Wright, John Welsh and David Buchanan were the ones who needed a rest.

“Then we had Joe Garner on the bench after he had been starting most matches. The changes we made to the team did not make us any weaker.

“We have got 23 or 24 players to choose from tomorrow. I can only pick 11 starters and seven substitutes.

“The ones in the team will be looking over their shoulders at those on the sidelines.

“We have a hardcore of a squad who are going to be here for the long haul and not the short term.”