Exclusive Sean Gregan column

It has happened a few times this season that Preston have not taken their chances in games and dropped points as a result.

By The Newsroom
Sunday, 24th January 2016, 4:00 pm
Adam Reach celebrates scoring Preston's equaliser against Brentford at Deepdale
Adam Reach celebrates scoring Preston's equaliser against Brentford at Deepdale

That was the case at the weekend when they lost 3-1 to Brentford at Deepdale.

In the second half, North End created a host of chances but for one reason or another, they could not find the net in their efforts to peg back the visitors.

Fair play to the Brentford goalkeeper, he pulled off one or two great saves – the one from Joe Garner which he tipped on to the bar was excellent.

But other chances went begging and I’m sure Simon Grayson and the board will be working hard these next few days to find a striker ahead of the close of the window.

They will not be the only ones trying to strengthen their forward line, managers are always seeking ways to bring extra goals to their clubs. That is why strikers tend to attract the bigger transfer fees and wages.

Hopefully North End can do some business before the deadline so that Grayson has another option up front.

What you could draw some encouragement from when it came to the Brentford defeat, was that at least chances were created.

Okay, they didn’t take those opportunities but there would be more concern if chances weren’t coming along.

If North End can put a few more chances away – let’s not forget they had won three of the last four league games so they do know where the net is – I don’t see any reason why they cannot push on into the top 10. Their focus will be firmly on accumulating enough points to be safe to start with.

There is a big enough gap for them not to be looking over their shoulders and a decent run of results would make things even more comfortable.

As the search goes on for a striker, North End had to do some more business at the other end of the pitch in the last couple of days.

Sam Johnstone being wanted back at Manchester United has meant another change of goalkeeper, so it is a big welcome to Deepdale for Anders Lindegaard who can come on loan from one of my old clubs, West Bromwich.

He is a good keeper and I think it is a decent signing. A couple of seasons ago, it looked like Lindegaard was going to get a run of games in the first team at Manchester United.

But then he got an ankle injury which kept him out for a little while.

It must be frustrating for Johnstone that he isn’t being allowed to stay. He wanted to come in the summer and made noises about that.

Earlier this month, the lad got his chance to come back on loan but after four games he is having to go back.

In all likelihood, he will be the third choice keeper at United behind David de Gea and Sergio Romero.

At his age and having had a good taste of first-team action, being third choice won’t be much help to him.

Training all week and then not being in the matchday squad isn’t much fun.

What North End will need to do in the summer is nail down a permanent first-choice goalkeeper.

They have done well in the loan market with Declan Rudd, Johnstone, Jordan Pickford and now Lindegaard.

But twice now this season they have seen a keeper go back, which must have been a bit unsettling.

They need a quality No.1 who is their player, being pushed by a good No.2 – I’m sure that Grayson has targets in mind.