PNE star Will’s off the mark and keane to hit the goal

Will Keane scores against Crewe
Will Keane scores against Crewe
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Will Keane hopes his goal at Crewe on Wednesday night proves to be the first of many in a Preston North End shirt.

The 22-year-old striker bagged PNE’s second goal in the 3-1 win, getting him off the mark following his arrival on loan from Manchester United.

He had bagged three during pre-season but the strike at Gresty Road got him going in competitive action.

Keane’s next aim is to find the net in this weekend’s clash with MK Dons in the Championship.

“It was great to get off the mark, any striker wants to score as early as possible in the season,” Keane told the Evening Post.

“The ball just dropped in the box, I reacted quickly and there were a couple of Crewe players on the line.

“I wanted to strike the ball well to get it past the defenders as I had one on Sunday against Middlesbrough when I got a really good contact but saw it cleared off the line.

“At Crewe, I just put my foot through it and the shot hit the target – it was nice to see it in the back of the net.”

Keane’s goal put North End two goals to the good, Jordan Hugill having opened the scoring with a fifth-minute penalty.

For the first half-hour, they were cruising before Crewe got themselves back into the contest with a goal nine minutes before the interval.

The second half saw Preston having to do plenty of defending but a late Josh Brownhill goal saw them home and hosed.

Keane said: “I thought that for the first half hour or so, we played some excellent stuff.

“We had a bit of everything, played at a high tempo with some one and two touch football.

“Unfortunately we missed a couple of chances which would have killed Crewe off by half-time.

“Then it was disappointing to concede the goal which put them back in the game.

“In the second half we had to shut up shop a little bit, Crewe had some good movement and saw plenty of the ball.

“We saw that period through and it was nice to get the third goal late on which made it a far more comfortable finish.

“The last 20 minutes were tough, Crewe penned us in a little bit, so Josh’s goal took the pressure off.”

It is more than a month since Keane signed on loan for the season and he is more than happy with how things have gone.

He got a full pre-season under his belt, featured in the majority of the friendlies and has started the first two matches of the campaign.

From a sharpness point of view, he thinks there is still a lot more to come – that the same of any player in these early weeks of a season.

“Getting the full 90 minutes at Crewe on top of the 85 minutes I played against Middlesbrough was really important,” said Keane.

“Wednesday night was only my second 90 minutes and that will stand me in good stead.

“I was a bit tired towards the end but it it all money in the bank with fitness levels.

“These first few weeks have been very enjoyable.

“Against Boro we produced a very solid performance to take a point and the win at Crewe was a good follow-up to that.

“The focus is now on MK Dons who have started the season very well with two wins.

“Many of the lads here know all about MK Dons from last season.

“They play a similar way to Crewe, in that they get the ball down and pass it around.

“We will do our homework on them, work on our team shape.

“As all the games are, this is a tough one and we will need to work hard.

“After a draw on the opening day and then the win in the cup, our aim is to get our first league victory as soon as possible.

“I really do think that we can do well this season.

“Being new to the league, the aim first and foremost is to make sure we stay in the division.

“If we can string a few good results together, there is no reason why we can’t push on and go higher up the table.

“Everyone says it, but it is about taking one game at a time and keep on building.”

Keane is one of our strikers in Simon Grayson’s squad – him, Joe Garner, Jermaine Beckford and Jordan Hugill all offering something a bit different in terms of their style and strengths.

Like Keane, Hugill got off the mark for the season at Crewe.

Garner was left on the bench until the 81st minute on Wednesday night, his energy being saved for Saturday.

An injury has kept Beckford on the sidelines for the first two games, his involvement at MK Dons a wait and see job.

Keane said: “I thought Jordan held the ball up well at Crewe and it was good for him to get off the mark with our first goal.

“Him and Joe are both people I can play off, they are good in the air .

“I played up there with Joe against Boro and then Jordan in midweek and enjoyed working with both of them.

“In terms of how I’m asked to play, I don’t have a preference. I can play right up on the shoulder of the defender or drop off.

“My job last weekend was to play against the last defender, stay high up.

“When Jermaine comes back, that is one of his strong points so maybe my role will slightly change.”