Makienok relishing fight for PNE starting spot

Preston North End's Simon Makienok celebrates scoring his late equaliser at Brighton.
Preston North End's Simon Makienok celebrates scoring his late equaliser at Brighton.
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Preston North End’s Simon Makienok believes competition for a starting spot up top is fiercer than ever after his last-gasp equaliser at Brighton.

Deepdale’s Great Dane came on as a late substitute and popped up with a 92nd-minute leveller to seal a 2-2 draw against fancied Albion.

Fellow front man Jordan Hugill had pounced on some sloppy Brighton defending to hand PNE an early lead before the hosts turned the game on its head with two goals in 11 second-half minutes on Saturday.

It was left for Makienok to give a welcome reminder of what he has to offer, his first league goal for the club coming after a memorable hat-trick against Bournemouth in league cup.

The 25-year-old said: “Jordan’s been on a good run.

“We’re sort of similar players even though he runs into space a bit more where as I’m more a typical box player.

“We still have things we can use each other for and there’s still some differences between us I think.

“We have great competition in our strikers.

“It keeps us all on our toes and on the front foot and makes us want to do our best every time we get a chance, even if it’s only 10 or 15 minutes.”

The goal was a big man’s dream, the 6ft 7ins striker rising high to head home Paul Gallagher’s cross from deep to send the 575 visiting fans into raptures at the Amex Stadium.

It was a case of practice makes perfect according to Makienok.

He said: “I always have an advantage with my height.

“I always like to be in the box and me and Gallagher, who made the assist, have trained it on the training ground.

“When we get these situations I always go to the back post when he gets his crosses in.

“I was just happy to make an impact.”

The late leveller ensured PNE made it five games unbeaten in all competitions and kept up the momentum picked up before the international break.

Makienok said: “We had a good run with some good wins against difficult teams.

“It’s good going into an international break with confidence but it’s important to show you haven’t lost that confidence from that run after you come back. “I think it will keep us on a good run. It’s a whole different feeling to losing 2-1 with a late goal and a point away against a good side like Brighton.”

The Dane’s intervention also kicked off a run of difficult fixtures in fine fashion with the Championship’s top three up next for Simon Grayson’s men, starting against Huddersfield at Deepdale on Wednesday night.

Makienok said: “We know we have some quite difficult games coming up but the Championship is so competitive that you’re not really thinking about who’s next because they’re all good sides.

“It’s about being on the front foot from the first minute and anything can happen.”