Grayson plenty to ponder for PNE derby clash
Simon Grayson thinks the display of a much-changed Preston North End side in the victory at Bournemouth has given him food for thought when it comes to selecting the team for tomorrow's derby with Wigan.
The Lilywhites boss made 10 changes for the 3-2 extra-time win, one which earned them a visit to Newcastle United in the fourth round.
Simon Makienok, scorer of a hat-trick, made the headlines, but there were other notably performances.
Grayson left some of the squad behind in Lancashire in order to rest them ahead of Wigan’s visit.
Others were on the bench, Tom Clarke, Eoin Doyle and Callum Robinson joining the action as second-half subs.
Grayson said: “We left Alex Baptiste, Anders Lindegaard, Aiden McGeady and Paul Gallagher at home.
“We asked the other players before the game ‘are you going to do enough to give me a problem on Friday night?’
“The answer to that was there in the victory, they have given me something to think about.
“I didn’t think the changes we made to the team made us any weaker.
“We brought in Paul Huntington, Bailey Wright, John Welsh, Chris Humphrey, Ben Pringle, Simon Makienok, players who have all played a lot of football in their careers.
“It just allowed us to play different styles of football at different times.
“It is all about the squad, we showed quality on the ball, good character and spirit to keep going.”
Grayson was pleased with the way Daniel Johnson adapted to an attacking role just behind Makienok.
“It was something we looked at because of who we had available and looking towards Friday as well,” said Grayson.
“DJ can play that role because he gets into pockets of space and runs with the ball.
“He is really impressive with how quickly he covers the ground when he has the ball at his feet.
“We picked a team with the three defenders, the wing-backs and a diamond in midfield – Simon Makienok was the outlet up front.
“We wanted to be strong in the middle of the pitch because of how Bournemouth play.
“I think after 15-20 minutes they changed from a 3-4-3 to a 4-4-2 – credit to our players that they had to do that.”
North End came out of the hat with Newcastle in last night’s draw, made live on Sky Sports.
The trip to St James’ Park, in the week beginning October 24, comes just days before the clubs meet at Deepdale in the Championship on October 29.
It will be a stern test for Preston, with the Magpies having started the season quite strongly and are the favourites for promotion.
Newcastle, managed by Rafa Benitez, secured their slot in the fourth round having beaten Wolves 2-0 on Tuesday.