Dave Seddon’s pressview

Callum Robinson
Callum Robinson
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Two goals in two games after coming off the bench and Callum Robinson has inevitably been christened Preston North End’s super-sub.

Not quite David Fairclough from the Liverpool side of the 1970s, nor indeed Jason Harris who knew how to make an impact as a substitute during his PNE days in the late 1990s.

But it has been nice all the same to see Robinson off the mark in his third loan spell at Deepdale.

When scoring the winner against Charlton a week last Tuesday, he became the first North End substitute to score in a league game this season.

Jordan Hugill had managed to score as a sub in September but that was in the Capital One Cup defeat to Bournemouth.

In some ways, Robinson is a young man looking to make up for lost time, hence his pleasure at the goals against Charlton and Cardiff.

His loan spell at Bristol City did not go to plan, Aston Villa’s suggestion that he try a new club to play at and city to live in, back-firing.

One goal in two starts and five substitute appearances was his contribution to the Robins.

From early October to the start of January when his loan was cut short, Robinson did not kick a ball in the first-team.

His arrival back in Preston, on loan from Villa until the end of the season, must have seemed like a return home.

After all, he spent the vast majority of last term here and played a part in the promotion push – his contribution in the first of those stays more significant than the second.

Bar last month’s start in the win over Huddersfield, it has been bench duty to date for Robinson.

That has been in the main due to the blunting of his sharpness during those couple of months of relative inactivity in the West Country.

He needed time to work on his fitness and the signs are now there that the 21-year-old is approaching full pelt.

It will be interesting to see today whether Robinson gets the nod from Simon Grayson to start against Brighton.

His involvement from the interval in the last two games have come after the substitution of a centre-half and a switch to 4-3-3.

Grayson now has to weigh up whether Robinson is best used for the time being in the impact role or from the start.

In the aftermath of the loss at Cardiff in which he scored in the closing minutes, I thought it would be nailed on that he’d be a starter this afternoon.

Having seen Brighton take Leeds to the cleaners on Monday night though, I’m not quite so sure.

Might it be that with the Seagulls right up there in the automatic promotion mix and having scored eight goals in their last two games, Grayson goes with the safety blanket of the extra centre-half?

There is then the option to twist at half-time or later on, opening up to a 4-3-3.

But with wins needed if indeed North End are going to make a late run for the top six, does Grayson go with more firepower in the shape of Robinson from the start?

He has something to give the side, an ability to play wide in a front three and have an eye for goal from there.

It would be interesting at some point to see if Robinson can operate more centrally, either as an out-and-out striker or behind the front man.

Perhaps he has not quite got the strength to lead the line in the way Joe Garner does.

But the No.10 role could offer him the freedom he likes and the space to turn and run at defences.

This time next week, 4,300 Preston supporters – a good number wearing bowler hats – will be heading to Bolton for Gentry Day.

It will be PNE’s biggest away following for a few years and that figure is sure to be bettered at Blackburn in April.

Almost 7,000 seats have been allocated to North End for the Ewood Park clash.

What a wonderful sight it would be to see both tiers of the Darwen End sold out.

The short trip to Blackburn was the one which many PNE fans looked out for when the fixture list was published.

It is more than 15 years ago that Preston last played there and visits were relatively few and far between before that.

Meanwhile, we don’t half know how to pile pressure on a young player in this country.

Marcus Rashford had barely taken off his boots off after scoring twice for Manchester United against Arsenal, when headlines started to appear about him being in line for a £15,000-a-week contract.

And quite why Roy Hodgson felt the need to ‘leave the door open’ for him as far as a place in England’s squad for this summer’s Euros is concerned, is beyond me.

Let the lad develop, too many have been in a similar position and not quite made it.