PNE’s creative thinking

Adam Reach is congratulated by Calum Woods and Daniel Johnson
Adam Reach is congratulated by Calum Woods and Daniel Johnson
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Simon Grayson felt that Preston North End’s attacking players showing a more creative edge, played a big part in the victory over Wolves.

PNE climbed into the top half of the table after the 2-1 win at Molineux, the goals scored by Paul Gallagher and Adam Reach.

The performance of Reach was a big plus, with him operating in a free role behind striker Joe Garner.

Lilywhites manager Grayson said: “I had spoken to Adam about being a little bit more positive – the same applied to the whole team.

“We asked them to work on a few things in training last week when it came to our attacking play and it was good to see those things paying off.

“As a team, we needed to get forward a bit more, get some support around Joe.

“Sometimes you don’t need to have the ball to help create something, making a good run off the ball can open up space for a team-mate.

“We had tweaked a few things to get the best of the systems.

“In the role Adam was playing just off Joe, he had licence to go anywhere.

“We told him, Alan Browne and Daniel Johnson to roam around, get on the ball, break forward and get shots away.

“Never would we have a go at players for trying to express themselves.

“Around the time the transfer window shut, people were saying we still needed players at the top of the pitch.

“I wouldn’t disagree with that in terms of out-and-out strikers, but the way we have played recently shows that there are players here who can slot into that No.10 role to good effect.”

Gallagher netted Preston’s opener in the 17th minute, exchanging passes with Garner before lobbing goalkeeper Carl Ikeme.

It was a lead doubled by Reach after half-time, finishing in emphatic fashion after Ikeme’s punched clearance had fallen to him.

Wolves sub Joe Mason cut the deficit in the 67th minute but North End comfortably held out.

The more points PNE put on the board, the closer Gallagher gets to the operating theatre.

He is delaying surgery to repair a hernia until the club are close to securing safety.

Said Grayson: “Gally was instrumental in the first half, he was the one getting on the ball, playing short passes and long passes.

“It was nice for him to score the goal because he has been playing for the last two or three months with a groin problem which somewhere down the line we will get sorted.

“Gally was booked in for the surgery in January but he felt he would be all right for a bit longer if we managed him between games.

“Hopefully he will get enough points to make us secure and it probably won’t be too long before he goes in to get the operation done.

“In the second half he was struggling a bit and that is why we put John Welsh on – we were about to make that change when Wolves scored.”