PNE boss backs strike duo

Goalscorer Scott Wiseman is congratulated by provider Kevin Davies
Goalscorer Scott Wiseman is congratulated by provider Kevin Davies
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Preston North End manager Simon Grayson says forward duo Jermaine Beckford and Kevin Davies will start scoring after being impressed with their performance against MK Dons

The pair fluffed some great chances in the 1-1 draw at Deepdale after being paired up front in a 4-4-2 formation.

It was left to Scott Wiseman to score the equaliser after Carl Baker had put the visitors ahead before the interval.

Davies set up Wiseman’s goal, keeping the ball in play from a wayward Beckford header and hooking it back into the middle for the defender to score.

Grayson said: “I thought the performance of the two strikers was really good.

“That is what I want first and foremost, for them to be contributing to the team play.

“Kevin was a real handful and Jermaine was looking to play off him and run down the sides.

“They are judged on their goals I suppose and we can all see they are both not full of confidence at the moment and need a goal from somewhere.

“One of these days a goal will go in and they will get on a run.

“Both Kevin and Jermaine have scored goals in their careers and I have no doubt that the goals will come, whether that be a tap-in, a screamer or a header.

“I thought Kev was fantastic and a constant threat for us going forward.

“Look at our equaliser –many strikers wouldn’t have even bothered keeping the ball alive in the way he did.

“But Kev is a committed player and works extremely hard.

“He did what he had to in keeping the ball in and it fell to an unusual suspect in Scott Wiseman, who finished well.

“The goal was the least we deserved because I thought we played some good football.

“We were positive in our play and kept on pushing forward throughout the game.

“As much as it was disappointing to only draw, it was important we didn’t lose.”

Grayson opted to start with a 4-4-2 for the first time this season, although had at times changed to that shape during matches.

Beckford was replaced late in the game by Andy Little, back after three months on the sidelines with hamstring and calf injuries.

But Bradley Fewster did not feature, having had his youth loan from Middlesbrough cut short after a little more than a fortnight.

Grayson said 18-year-old Fewster had returned to Boro for ‘personal reasons’ and it is believed homesickness was at the route of the problem.

The teenager, signed on loan deadline day last month, was an unused substitute against Yeovil and Shrewsbury.

Little’s return will cover Fewster’s loss but there is no doubting that strikers are at the top of PNE’s shopping list for January.

Grayson wants a central striker and would like to 
 bring Callum Robinson back too.

Robinson has not played for Aston Villa since they recalled him from his loan last month.

North End are back in action tomorrow night at Notts County in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy northern area semi-final (7.45pm).