PNE boss plays the numbers game

Chris Humphrey comes back into contention for North End tonight
Chris Humphrey comes back into contention for North End tonight
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Simon Grayson could freshen up his Preston North End team tonight as he looks to find a winning formula away at Milton Keynes Dons.

In what has been a physically and mentally draining few days for everybody connected with the club after the sad passing of club legend Sir Tom Finney on Friday, Grayson may look to make changes following the 1-1 draw against Leyton Orient on Saturday.

On-loan striker Craig Davies is a doubt for this evening as he is nursing a hamstring problem. But there could be recalls for Josh Brownhill and Kevin Davies to the starting line-up.

Chris Humphrey – who was omitted from the matchday squad on Saturday due to a managerial decision – and not because he happens to be the wearer of Sir Tom’s No.7 shirt – also comes back into contention for the trip to the StadiumMK

Grayson said:“It’s amazing that people come up with certain theories.

“Chris was just unfortunate in that we had certain other players available.

“I decided to put Josh Brownhill into the squad.

“I can assure you, we never decided to leave Chris out for that reason.

“Iain Hume wasn’t in the squad also because he had been at a funeral in Canada earlier in the week.

“He was still fit and available but we have got players who have been in and out of the squad all season.

“But I will have a look at the situation to see who is a little bit tired possibly and what we need to do in terms of what shape we are going to play.

“What I have got is some fanatastic options available. There were some players at the weekend who were not in the 18.

“We have showed over the past few weeks, we can play different systems with different personnel.

“The lads who have come into the team have helped us and those that go out certainly don’t go sulking.

“They accept it because they know it’s a squad game and they will get a another opportunity further down the line.”

Craig Davies was feeling his tight hamstring during the match against Orient and Grayson will assess his fitness ahead of tonight’s fixture.

Grayson said: “Obviously, we won’t take any risks with him because he was out for a few months at Bolton.

“If we lose him for one game then so be it.

“I would rather lose him for one game than half-a-dozen.”

MK Dons – who are managed by former Bamber Bridge player Karl Robinson – are currently on a two-match winning streak.

Their 2-1 win over Oldham on Saturday saw them move to within seven points of the 
play-off places.

Grayson knows his men face a difficult task if they are to pick up all three points.

“They are a good team,” he said. “They have been in and around the play-offs for the last few years without managing to make that one step up.

“They had a good win at the weekend and we know how they will play. They have got some good players and Karl has a philosophy which he isn’t going move away from.”