PNE’s game changer

Alan Browne
Alan Browne
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Preston North End boss Simon Grayson says that his team changes over the coming weeks will be down to tactical adjustments rather than simply dropping players.

Grayson favours a match-to-match approach when it comes to his team selection.

That was evident for Monday’s draw with Sheffield United when John Welsh and Keith Keane were left on the bench in favour of Neil Kilkenny and Josh Brownhill.

David Buchanan also slotted in impressively at left-back in place of Scott Laird.

Being able to make such changes underlines the depth of the squad and there could be well be a reshuffle for today’s game at Swindon.

“Some players have played very well over the course of the last few weeks and can count themselves unlucky to be out of the team,” said Grayson.

“Look at Welsh, Keane and Jack King who did so well at Stevenage but were then on the bench earlier in the week.

“With the squad we have available, we can change the team without weakening it.

“The changes are just about having different options and it is good to have the choice.

“There is good competition throughout the squad – the back, in midfield, up front and in the centre-half positions.

“Look at the keepers –Thorsten Stuckmann was fantastic for a couple of seasons but Declan Rudd has been fantastic this season.

“There are people pushing each other and that has been a contributing factor to us only having had four defeats.

“We would have liked to have had more points to get closer to the top two but we have done well so far.”

One player who looks set to step up to a bigger role within the squad over the coming weeks is midfielder Alan Browne.

The 19-year-old, who signed in January from Cork City, has been impressing Grayson in training.

With Iain Hume and Joel Byrom having been loaned out in the past week, there is space on the fringes of the squad.

Said Grayson: “With one or two going out, it moves one or two up the pecking order.

“Alan Browne has done well since he came over in terms of his training and how he has done in reserve games.

“We think that the lad has a bright future and somewhere between now and the end of the season, we will get him involved with us. That might be as a substitute or even a start somewhere down the line.

“We saw a lot of potential in him when we signed him.

“When we played a bounce game at Blackburn the other day he played very well in that.

“He doesn’t look out of place when he trains with the first team every day and it won’t be long until he is in and around the 18 on a matchday.

“To be fair, Alan been involved with us for most of the year. That is to let him know how it works and what it is all about. It will help him get used to the first-team environment and settle in with the senior players.

“We have had some good kids coming through – Josh Brownhill, Ryan Croasdale who is out on loan and Alan – that bodes well for the future.”