PNE search for turning point in home form

Joe Garner rues a missed chance in PNE's clash with Bolton
Joe Garner rues a missed chance in PNE's clash with Bolton
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Preston North End will go into the fourth month of the season still searching for their first home league win of the campaign following their derby-day draw with Bolton.

Seven Championship games at Deepdale have yet to see the Lilywhites pick up a victory and they make an eighth attempt against Nottingham Forest tomorrow night.

The 0-0 draw with Bolton on Saturday evening was a clash low on quality, with clear-cut chances at a premium.

It was a fourth clean sheet on the bounce for North End and edged them a place higher in the table.

But craft and creativity going forward was missing, Joe Garner and Eoin Doyle paired up front before Jordan Hugill replaced Doyle later on.

PNE manager Simon Grayson said: “We want to give our home supporters that valuable win here.

“We have done it away from Deepdale and it is not that the players are lacking in confidence at home.

“But we are just not showing the quality needed to win games at times.

“We need someone to pick a pass or put together some combination play, hit a shot when it isn’t expected.

“The team do need to express themselves more but having said that, defences are very tough to play against in this division – we won’t get as many chances now as we did in League One.

“We will carry on working to get the formula right, get the system right in order to get that bit more quality at the top end of the pitch.

“It is about finding a balance between keeping clean 
sheets and trying to win matches.

“We need some composure in that vital area of the pitch.

“Our front two did okay but it was the same as the other combinations this season in that they didn’t really fire.”

It was telling that the two best players on the pitch at the weekend were Bailey Wright and David Wheater.

They were dominant in the respective defences, meaning little change for the strikers.

Said Grayson: “I thought both sets of defenders played well but Wright and Wheater were very good.

“You look at Wheater’s experience in the Premier League, while Bailey was on the front foot and did ever so well.

“We kept another clean sheet and that is four on the trot with lads playing in positions which aren’t necessarily their own.

“We are doing well at that end of the pitch – now we have to make sure we are better in the final third.

“Looking at the game, the first half saw tackles flying in.

“The second half was more open with both teams wanting to win it but seeing attacks fizzle out.

“We drew the game and got a point but we were disappointed not to 
win it.

“Everyone came through the game okay.

“We had the usual kicks and bruises and we’ll see where we are for tomorrow night.”