PNE places up for grabs

Simon Grayson has told his Preston North End squad that the door is wide open to all of them to claim a starting place against Reading on the opening day of the season.

Monday, 25th July 2016, 5:00 am
Chris Humphrey

Lilywhites boss Grayson says not too much should be read into the teams and formations he has picked in the friendly games to date.

The latest of the warm-up matches saw them draw 1-1 with Premier League outfit Stoke at Deepdale.

Grayson used 19 players during the game, with three of them – Anders Lindegaard, Paul Huntington and Bailey Wright – playing 90 minutes.

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There were first games in a PNE shirt at Deepdale for Ben Pringle, Simon Makienok and Liam Grimshaw.

“People might read into whatever system and team we play but these friendlies are all about getting game time into the players,” Grayson told the Evening Post.

“We will mix the side up again at Morecambe tomorrow night and then against Bolton on Saturday.

“All through the pre-season, I have been telling the players that they are all competing for a starting place at Reading come the start of the season

“What you can see from the games so far is that we have got different types of players to play different systems.

“Look at the way we finished the Stoke game for example, we had Simon Makienok up there, Eoin Doyle playing off him, with Jordan Hugill and Callum Robinson either side.

“It is nice to have different options to choose from, if we have to change things in games we can do with confidence.

“What was pleasing at the weekend was that we were able to play a couple of lads who had missed one or two games recently.

“It was nice to see Ben Pringle out there for a good period of the game, so too Liam Grimshaw and Chris Humphrey.”

PNE’s goal on Saturday was an early strike from Daniel Johnson, with Mame Diouf equalising for Stoke nine minutes after the break.

It was a strong Potters squad on show, their side including Bojan, Marko Arnautovic, Ryan Shawcross, Glen Johnson and Jack Butland.

Grayson said: “It was a good game, played at a high tempo by both teams.

“We broke well for our goal, it coming from Stoke’s free-kick on the edge of our box.

“There was a slight deflection on DJ’s shot but we have seen him score that type of goal many a times, slotting it in with his left foot.

“We had other opportunities but we were disappointed with the goal we conceded.

“That said, when we had to defend, we did so quite well.”

There could be a return for Tommy Spurr at Morecambe tomorrow night, the defender making good progress in his recovery from sprained ankle.

“Tommy has moved on quite nicely over the last few days and he possibly might be back in action tomorrow,” said Grayson.

“That is encouraging, we will see where that one goes in training today.”