PNE new boy Davies enjoys dream debut

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Goalscoring debutant Craig Davies was happy to be thrown in at the deep end and help Preston North End to victory over Notts County at Deepdale.

The 28-year-old striker only had one training session to get to know his PNE team-mates after signing on loan from Bolton on deadline day.

Photo Neil Cross'Preston North End v Nots County'Craig Davies scores on his debut for PNE

Photo Neil Cross'Preston North End v Nots County'Craig Davies scores on his debut for PNE

But even without being on first-name terms with many of them yet, Davies made a major contribution to shooting down the Magpies.

He fired North End into a 65th minute lead and then won the penalty which Joe Garner netted to seal the three points.

Davies told the Evening Post: “I still don’t know the names of all the lads yet.

“Sometimes it is good to be thrown in at the deep end, you either sink or swim.

“Luckily on this occasion I swam and it was a great that we got the win.

“Before I scored I’d had one or two good chances which went too close to the keeper and he saved.

“Then there was another chance which got cleared off the line by a defender.

“For the goal I couldn’t have caught it any better, I hit it sweetly and there was no one on the line to help the keeper out.

“The Preston fans gave me a great reception which meant a lot and it was nice to do well on my debut.”

Davies lasted 78 minutes of the game before being replaced by Iain Hume.

He has a clear midweek ahead of him to train and rest, the striker cup-tied for Wednesday’s FA Cup replay with Nottingham Forest having already played for Bolton in the competition.

Although he had started Bolton’s two previous games ahead of the loan move, it became clear that he did not figure in Dougie Freedman’s first-team plans at Bolton.

Davies said: “I wanted to get out on loan to play football and it was great when I heard that Preston were interested.

“In December I had a chat with the Bolton manager and he said I might need to go out on loan to play games because I had been injured for about three months.

“But then I played for 90 minutes in the FA Cup against Cardiff and then played again at QPR last Tuesday night.

“I thought to myself then that I had claimed a stake in the team, but last Wednesday I found out differently.

“For three months I was sat in the physio room going out of my head, so the last thing I wanted to do after starting two games was to go back to the bench.

“I think I’m better than that, I know I’m better than that and I have told him (Freedman) that I’m better than that.

“I want to show everyone that I can still do what I was doing at Barnsley before the move to Bolton.

“Now I’m just concentrating on doing well here for the next few months.

“I have got another year left at Bolton after this and plan to go back in the summer, but things change in football.

“One minute you are one place, the next minute you are somewhere else.

“That was proved in the last few days – I played for Bolton against QPR, then suddenly I was in the Preston team playing Notts County. That’s football and is why we love it.”