Simon Grayson has every confidence that Stevie May will find his form with Preston North End after a slow start to life at Deepdale.
The Scotsman is yet to find the net in PNE colours since September’s big-money move from Sheffield Wednesday.
For the last four games, May was an unused substitute, his last appearance being against Cardiff on October 17.
Although Grayson naturally would have liked May to get off the mark straight away, he is taking a longer-term view with the striker’s form.
Grayson told the Evening Post: “Sometimes, there is an expectation for players to hit the ground running.
“It doesn’t always happen, Stevie for example played very little in pre-season and didn’t start the season in the Sheffield Wednesday squad.
“He was probably down on his sharpness and match time when we signed him but he will get his chance here.
“Sometimes you pick a team, get a result and stick with it, hence players don’t get a start.
“Substitutions are very much about that particular stage of the game, so sometimes people don’t get off the bench.
“There have been games when we gone with the extra height of Jordan Hugill when it has come to making a change.
“Last weekend at QPR, Stevie was an option to come on in the second half but we thought Will Keane would give is that extra bit of pace on the counter-attack.
“It is what is best for the team at that particular stage of the match.
“People might be surprised that Stevie has not got as much game time recently, given that we spent quite a lot of money on him.
“But he is with us for the long term and I have no doubt that he will do well for us.”
Grayson has tried different combinations of strikers as he looks to get North End firing up front.
Joe Garner and Eoin Doyle have started the last three games, Doyle the first striker to find the net in the league against Nottingham Forest.
Said Grayson: “Picking a side is about who is performing and how well the team is doing.
“If the team had been doing well when Joe Garner was out, scoring lots of goals, Joe would not have come back into it.
“He didn’t get in for the first game which he was available for – that showed we are willing to give everyone a chance. Joe is back in now and working hard to try and get back on the scoresheet.
“The players understand that they can’t all start, we talk to them about it – that is part of the man-management.
“The easiest players to keep happy are the ones starting and coming off the bench.”
Grayson gave a number of the first-team squad a game in yesterday’s friendly against Everton.
North End were beaten 4-3 by a strong Toffees side, Josh Heaton scoring twice, with the other being an own goal.
Leighton Baines, Arouna Kone, Leon Osman and Steven Naismith were on target for Everton in the clash at Finch Farm.