PNE ace Becks back to his best

Simon Grayson and Jermaine Beckford celebrate after PNE's win at Notts County
Simon Grayson and Jermaine Beckford celebrate after PNE's win at Notts County
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Jermaine Beckford says being reunited with Preston North End manager Simon Grayson has helped him find his best form.

The experienced striker has been red hot of late, with nine goals in his last 13 appearances.

Two of those came in some style during Tuesday night’s win at Notts County.

That 3-1 victory kept PNE in the box seat above MK Dons in the race for the second automatic promotion slot.

Beckford and Grayson won a promotion together at Leeds five years ago, the front man scoring 31 goals that campaign.

They are hoping to do that a second time with North End, who need to match or better MK’s results in the final two matches.

On Saturday, they play host to Swindon at Deepdale and MK Dons travel to Rochdale.

It was in late November that Grayson signed Beckford on loan from Bolton.

He has netted 12 times in all but it is since his return from illness that the 31-year-old has come out all guns blazing.

Beckford told the Evening Post: “The manager is amazing to work for, that is why I didn’t have to think twice about coming here.

“We’ve a great relationship and understanding of each other – we know exactly what is needed and expected.

“For me, that is great, I know exactly where I stand.

“The manager and Glynn Snodin knew exactly what type of player they were getting when I came to Preston.

“That is probably why things have gone as well as they have done – it is not by luck or fluke.

“The manager knows how to talk to players, how to get the best out of them.”

Beckford scored Preston’s first and third goals at Notts County, sandwiching a 23rd goal of the campaign for Joe Garner.

The opener involved a fine piece of skill, his second – which killed off a resilient Magpies side – dispatched with a confident finish.

Looking back on his night’s work, Beckford said: “For the first goal, it was a great ball over and a great bit of control from Joe Garner to play in Paul Gallagher.

“Gally’s vision is brilliant and I knew just by making a run in behind the defender that he was going to put the ball through to me.

“Fortunately, their defender dived in a little bit and made my mind up for me.

“I lifted the ball over my head and his head and put it into the net.

“Daniel Johnson did well to set me up for my second and that wrapped the game up.

“That was a huge relief, getting the win on the back of three draws.

“I was pleased to score the goals but more pleased with the three points to be honest.

“We are so close now to where we want to be.

“The recent dropped points have been frustrating but very rarely do things go the way you want when pushing for promotion.

“But with the guys we have got in the dressing room and the staff here, I’m in no doubt at all that we have what it takes to go up.

“It is just a case of applying ourselves in the correct way in these next two games.

“What we need to do now is continue where we left off on Tuesday night and see where that takes us.

“We always have the fans on our side and hopefully Deepdale will be rocking when we play Swindon on Saturday.”

l Fans will be asked to observe a minute’s silence before 
kick-off on Saturday to mark the forthcoming 30th anniversary of the Bradford fire disaster.

All games in the Football League and Premier League over the weekend will honour the 56 supporters who died in the fire at Valley Parade on May 11, 1985.