Preston North End’s strikers were back among the goals in last night’s victory over Bamber Bridge, much to the satisfaction of new Lilywhites coach Steve Thompson.
Joe Garner, Jermaine Beckford and Jordan Hugill all found the net in the annual friendly at the Sir Tom Finney Stadium, although the best goal of the lot in the 4-0 win came from winger Kyel Reid.
Thompson had a hands-on role in the game, directing operations from the dugout while Simon Grayson and Glynn Snodin watched from the main stand.
Generally, he liked what he saw, Garner’s penalty giving North End a 19th minute lead before Beckford struck in first-half stoppage-time.
He found the net from close range after a shot from Calum Woods had been parried by Brig goalkeeper Lee Dovey.
Reid, one of nine substitutes introduced by PNE at half-time, struck from 20 yards four minutes into the second half.
Then Hugill met a Reid cross to head home the fourth goal in the 69th minute.
Thompson told the Evening Post: “Strikers like to score goals whatever game it is.
“It was nice to see Garner and Beckford smiling afterwards because they had been on the scoresheet.
“They’ll be looking forward to the next couple of weeks when we will be working on their game and the different units of the team.
“We will have different scenarios and game plans when we play teams in the Championship, so it is good to have a look at them in various roles in these games.
“Kyel Reid’s goal was a great finish, he has got that in his locker.
“He has got fantastic ability and we have to make sure as a team that we get plenty of the ball to him.
“Overall, it was a good night for us. The lads got more minutes into their legs and we alternated things again to put two teams out.
“Bamber Bridge gave us a good game, they are a side who like to do things right and have some good players.
“The plan is now to try and step things up a little bit, maybe get 50-60 minutes into some of the lads when we play Hearts on Saturday.
“At the moment we are giving them a base to build on.
“When we played at Chorley last Saturday, we were good up to the edge of the box and then we were perhaps looking for an extra yard before trying to get a shot away.
“Last night we were that bit sharper and more decisive in front of goal.
“Pre-season is all about a gradual progression.”
New signing Will Keane and midfielder Neil Kilkenny sat out the game with minor niggles, both of them expected back for the Hearts game.
“It’s not anything drastic with either of them,” said Thompson.
“They just have niggles from the first game and it wasn’t worth the risk of aggravating them.
“They should be fine by the back end of the week and be able to play on Saturday.”