Life after Hogan still looks good for PNE's opponents

Simon Grayson is relieved that Preston will not have to face Scott Hogan at Deepdale this weekend but is also aware that Brentford have managed well without him.
Brentford skipper Harlee Dean scored against Brighton last SundayBrentford skipper Harlee Dean scored against Brighton last Sunday
Brentford skipper Harlee Dean scored against Brighton last Sunday

Hogan, scorer of a hat-trick when the Bees demolished PNE 5-0 in September, was sold to Aston Villa for £9m on deadline day.

West Ham had led the chase for the ex-Rochdale front man but dropped out of the running to leave the way clear for Villa to swoop.

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He had scored 14 of the London side’s 40 league goals this term, a sizeable chunk it has to be said.

But the day Hogan signed for Villa, Brentford beat his new club 3-0 and then last Sunday, shared a 3-3 draw with Brighton.

In those two games, they had five different scorers.

Against Brighton, Jota, Harlee Dean and Konstantin Kerschbaumer found the net.

North End boss Grayson said: “Hogan didn’t go cheap did he?

“For a time it looked like he would go to a Premier League club.

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“Hogan is a good player and in our game down there, he took his chances well.

“They have other players who have stepped up to the mark and we have to be aware of their threats.

“I’ve got to say that it is nice that Hogan won’t be playing against us and the club he has moved to we have already played twice.”

Brentford sit in 13th place, their campaign having been a rather up-and-down one.

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Like many sides in what is a demanding division, they have not been able to put together a run of consistent results.

Said Grayson: “Brentford are a team who probably sum up the Championship, in that they are a bit inconsistent.

“However, if you look at their last two games, they thumped Aston Villa 3-0 and absolutely destroyed them.

“Then they drew 3-3 with Brighton, having been 2-0 and 3-2 up.

“At one stage they could have gone 3-0 ahead.

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“Brentford have some good players, they play a 
fluent style of football – they pass and move, get into 
pockets and areas of space.

“It might be a game where we have to be patient as a team because Brentford could have a bit more of the ball than we would normally like.

“What is important is what we do in both boxes, that is what counts.

“We need to ask questions of them in their box and be ruthless in ours.”

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Brentford head coach Dean Smith and his No.2 Richard O’Kelly signed 12-month contract extensions this week.

In order to try and offset the loss of Hogan, the Bees brought Sergi Canos back to Griffin Park on deadline day.

Canos had a successful loan spell from Liverpool but joined Norwich last July in a £2.5m switch.

Having found first-team chances limited at Carrow Road in the first half of the season, the Spaniard jumped at the chance of a switch to London.

Another January arrival was Dutch winger Florian Jozefzoon.