A happy dilemma for PNE boss

Paul Huntington missed out in midweek with a hamstring problem
Paul Huntington missed out in midweek with a hamstring problem
Have your say

Preston North End manager Simon Grayson has welcomed the addition selection options which the performance in the midweek clash with Bournemouth conjured up.

Grayson admits he now has plenty of food for thought when it comes to picking a side to host Wolves on Saturday.

Although PNE bowed out on penalties to Premier League side Bournemouth, the display was much improved on the second-half showing at Brentford last weekend.

Grayson said: “This is exactly what I wanted. I didn’t want to be in a position where the team is easy to pick on Saturday.

“Certain people have given me a problem – a nice problem – in terms of selection.

“While the players will be disappointed to go out of the competition, they have given me food for thought for the weekend in terms of what system to play, who we play in certain areas and hopefully we can build off that performance.”

Alan Browne caught the eye in midfield, although his penalty in the shoot-out was a tired one and saw the Bournemouth keeper save it.

There was a recall for Bailey Wright at the heart of the defence after he was benched at Brentford, with the Australia international impressive.

Jordan Hugill made the right kind of impact as a substitute, scoring the equaliser to send the game into extra time.

Grayson will also have strikers Joe Garner and Eoin Doyle available after they missed out against Bournemouth due to suspension and being cup-tied respectively.

Centre-half Paul Huntington also sat it out with a slight hamstring problem, one which will need assessing ahead of the weekend.

Said Grayson: “Hunts tweaked his hamstring in training on Monday, whether he will be fit for the Wolves game, I don’t know.

“It was the one he had a bit of trouble with going into the Derby game the other week.

“Bailey Wright stepped in for him against Bournemouth and I thought he was outstanding.

“He responded to not being in the team at Brentford by putting in a fantastic performance.

“The players had the day off yesterday and were coming in today for a recovery session and to start working towards Wolves.

“If we do need to freshen things up after the long night on Tuesday, we have the players to come back in.”

Grayson saw the Bournemouth display as a step in the right direction in terms of trying to halt the run of winless games.

He said: “When you analyse it, we have had one bad second half at Brentford and a poor last 15 minutes against Bristol City when we haven’t played anywhere near what we are capable of doing.

“We wanted to use Tuesday night’s game to give ourselves a boost going into the next couple of league games and hopefully we have done that.”