Only way up for PNE boss Grayson
Preston North End manager Simon Grayson is confident his side will be heading in the right direction sooner rather than later despite sitting second from bottom of the Championship.
The Lilywhites, who return to action after the international break with a game against Barnsley at Deepdale on September 10, have lost four of their opening five games, meaning only Blackburn Rovers – with a solitary point – have had a more indifferent start.
The 2-0 win at Queens Park Rangers ended a run of three defeats to kick things off but Grayson’s men were soon brought back down to earth with the 1-0 reverse at Ipswich last time out.
The PNE boss is however remaining positive, insisting his side are not far off things going their way, having lost all their games by just a single goal.
Grayson said: “You can’t get too despondent.
“We’d obviously like to be further up the division but there are still plenty of games to go in this league.
“We’re not a million miles away and out of games.
“You’ve seen that in the games so far.
“Reading, Fulham and Derby were all by one goal, before Ipswich on Saturday.
“We are well and truly in games – we’ve just got to do things a bit better in all areas of the pitch.
“Last week at QPR we caused them all sorts of problems because we had better quality on the ball and had the energy about us.
“Some of those key factors were just lacking at Ipswich.”
One worry as North End have been edged out in games is the lack of goals, just three in the opening five Championship games.
Many are calling for a new striker to be brought in before the transfer window closes on Wednesday night but Grayson is not short of options. Jermaine Beckford and Callum Robinson started up front against Ipswich, as they had done in the win at QPR, with Jordan Hugill – who replaced Beckford early in the piece due to a hamstring injury – and Eoin Doyle also featuring from the subs’ bench.
Simon Makienok is also getting up to speed after his loan move from Palermo, his only start coming in the EFL Cup against Oldham, while Stevie May continues his recovery from knee ligament damage suffered in December.
It is the departure of talisman Joe Garner to Rangers, though, that means some supporters feel there is a void to fill at the sharp end of the field at Deepdale.
For his part, Grayson believes that improved performances throughout will bring about a better return in front of goal in the coming weeks and months.
The PNE boss has suggested that he could be in the market for a more versatile attacking player, rather than one that can play as an out-and-out striker.
He said: “Of course the lack of goals is a concern.
“We want to be creating things and we want to be scoring more goals.
“Sometimes you give the opposition credit because defenders are better in this division.
“They’re quicker, they’re stronger, but we have to be clever in our build-up play and be a little bit more ruthless.
“I don’t think that was too much the problem against Ipswich because we never really got the ball down and passed it and got the service up to the strikers.
“All round it was a disappointing day for us.”