PNE boss aims to inject pace in his team

Chris Holroyd could make the starting line-up tonight
Chris Holroyd could make the starting line-up tonight
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Graham Westley will look to give Preston North End a sharper cutting edge by injecting more pace into the team.

One of his objectives in the summer is to bring some faster players to Deepdale – that is a key area of the squad overhaul planned in readiness for next season.

In the shorter term, Westley will be looking for three points tonight when North End play host to Brentford (7.45pm).

Victory would put them within touching distance of securing their League One status.

And with fixtures coming up against five of the division’s current top seven clubs, success this evening would help fans breath a little easier.

Westley said: “If you look at the balance of our squad, it would be observed that we don’t have enough left-sided players and we lack pace.

“We are a quick enough team all round, but there is no outstanding pace.

“If you are really going to get the best out of yourselves, especially on a surface as wide and big as ours, we need to have Danny Mayor-type pace available.

“We don’t really have that at the moment, just the odd one or two.

“What we need is pace throughout the team to increase our attacking play.”

Mayor’s pace is unlikely to be on show tonight, the winger still struggling with the injury he picked up in the first half of the victory at Exeter 10 days ago.

Another absentee is Barry Nicholson, who strained a hamstring against Bury.

With the season having a little over a month left to run, the midfielder could be missing for the rest of it.

Nicholson’s absence could mean a start for Chris Holroyd tonight.

He came off the bench on Saturday when Nicholson limped off, although was himself substituted later in the game.

While more pace is on the agenda for the close season, the PNE supporters will be hoping to see more zip from the team against 10th-placed Brentford.

A laboured performance at the weekend saw them pegged back by Bury in stoppage time.

And the general consensus from the stands is that they want to be seeing far more attacking purpose from their team.

Westley acknowledges the need to be more clinical going forward.

But he believes that progress is slowly being made.

The Preston boss said: “We are going through stages as I would expect.

“We sorted out the defence, then we moved on to building our play, now it’s about us being more clinical in our play.

“We have to get those three things working together if we are going to be successful.

“What we must not forget is that not too long ago, this club lost nine out of 11.

“When you are trying to turn that round into something better, it is a slow progress.

“Losing one in the last six is much better than nine defeats in 11.

“We are on the right road, Preston North End are coming back, no question.

“I would love it to be quicker. But for a late goal on Saturday – which I’m not sure I saw coming – we would have been sat talking about three points.

“As we start creating more chances, we’ll start relaxing and taking them.

“We’ll playing a Brentford side tonight who have been good on the whole this season.

“To some degree the way they play they can hurt themselves on the road, so we must be aware of that. They had a good result at the weekend.”

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