PNE’s competition is fierce says Scott

Scott Laird is impressed with the strength of Preston's squad
Scott Laird is impressed with the strength of Preston's squad
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Preston North End left-back Scott Laird thinks the strength of the squad assembled at Deepdale will be an important tool in their promotion push.

Competition for places in the North End side is fierce, with Laird himself battling it out with David Buchanan to get the nod on the left-hand side of defence.

The 25-year-old referred to the list of substitutes for the weekend win at Tranmere – and to those not in the matchday squad – as evidence of the options which PNE boss Simon Grayson has at his disposal.

Laird said: “It’s not bad when you can bring Kevin Davies on for 20 minutes to hold the ball up.

“Our performances this season are testament to the whole squad.

“Look at Saturday’s bench which had David Buchanan, Lee Holmes, Stuart Beavon and Iain Hume waiting to come on.

“Joel Byrom, Josh Brownhill and Paul Huntington weren’t in the squad, and Tom Clarke was missing with injury.

“I’m probably missing a few other names out but it just shows what a good squad we have here.”

Laird was PNE’s left-back at Tranmere having been on the bench for the previous two games against Nottingham Forest and Notts County.

His attacking instincts looked to have got him his recall, with the full-backs providing the width either side of a diamond-shaped midfield.

The strikers he and right-back Scott Wiseman were looking to supply were Joe Garner and Craig Davies.

Garner netted both goals in the 2-1 win and Laird is a big fan of PNE’s top scorer. “What a player Joe is – we call him the Jackal,” said Laird. “That nickname came about at the start of the season when we were playing cards on the bus.

“Joe was losing and was always chasing it back, trying to win back his money like an animal – so we called him the Jackal.

“On the pitch he is horrible to play against – he’s always there kicking at your heels, chasing things, harrying you, heading the ball – heading you!

“I played for Preston at our place against Joe when he was at Carlisle last season.

“He is definitely one of those players who you want on your side rather than in the other team.

“Joe will always give you an out-ball and will get chances in any game.

“For someone his size he is very good in the air and you just don’t want to play against him.

“Stuart Beavon and Iain Hume are the same, then you have Craig Davies and Kevin Davies.

“Craig is as strong as an ox. He is a great addition to have until the end of the season.

“We played really well at Tranmere and for the first half-hour it was attack after attack.

“For a spell we picked-up every first and second ball which served us well.”

After a couple of days’ rest, the Lilywhites squad were back in training today and starting preparations for the visit of promotion rivals Leyton Orient to Deepdale this weekend.

Orient are in action tonight at home to Bristol City.