PNE finding goal touch

John Welsh scoring against Gillingham on Saturday
John Welsh scoring against Gillingham on Saturday
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Simon Grayson is pleased to see the goals being spread around the Preston North End team as the play-offs get near.

Eight players got their name on the scoresheet in April, skipper John Welsh scoring his first goal for 19 months in the weekend’s 3-1 win over Gillingham.

The goal spread has taken some of the expectancy off Joe Garner, who is feeling his way back from injury.

Garner returned to the starting XI for the first time in three weeks against the Gills, a calf knock he suffered in the 1-1 draw at Bristol City having restricted his involvement in the meantime.

Lilywhites boss Grayson told the Evening Post: “It is great to see other players chipping in with the goals.

“We saw John Welsh score a good goal against Gillingham.

“There was some great 
link-up play and John finished it really well.

“I have been saying for a few weeks that I wanted to see the goals coming from different areas of the pitch – you don’t just want to rely on your strikers.

“Midfielders and the wide players have been scoring goals, getting into certain areas where they can be dangerous.

“In recent games we have been finishing off the chances we’ve created.

“We need to carry on doing that. There’s a fine line between confidence and complacency and we don’t want to get complacent.”

In addition to Welsh, Jack King, Paul Gallagher (4), Craig Davies (3), Lee Holmes (2), Alan Browne, Bailey Wright and Neil Kilkenny found the net in April.

Grayson insists there has not been a change of approach which has led to the recent goals boost – they have scored 18 in the last five home games.

He said: “We have not really changed anything.

“We have worked extremely hard all season on attacking play – we don’t just work on the defensive side of our game.

“Scoring goals always leads to confidence. If you look at the goal which Paul Gallagher scored against Gillingham, that is an example of someone playing with confidence.

“A month or two ago, Gally would probably have taken the safe option and played the ball out wide.

“Instead, he went for a shot which hit the back of the net.”

Grayson feels that Garner will be all the sharper for his 75-minute run-out at the weekend.

He had missed the Carlisle and Brentford games, before returning to action as a sub against Shrewsbury.

Said Grayson: “Joe started the Gillingham game but was never going to play longer than 70-75 minutes regardless of what the scoreline was.

“He got a good run and then we were able to give him a breather towards the end.

“In recent games we have swapped things around a bit to get players some game time and keep them on their toes.

“Everyone in the squad is champing at the bit.”

Meanwhile, North End are down to the last 100 tickets of their 2,278 allocation for Saturday’s final game of the regular season at Crewe Alexandra.