PNE v Hartlepool: Three things we learned

Preston North End's Liam Grimshaw takes on Hartlepool United's Jake Carroll and Nicky Deverdics.
Preston North End's Liam Grimshaw takes on Hartlepool United's Jake Carroll and Nicky Deverdics.
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Reporter Adam Lord takes a look at Preston North End’s last-gasp 1-0 win over Hartlepool

Simon Grayson has decisions to make up top

Three-and-a-half minutes into three minutes of stoppage time PNE got their season up and running. It had been a frustrating Tuesday night at Deepdale as North End saw efforts cleared off the line and others go over the crossbar and after the disappointment at Reading it looked like being another one of those days. Up popped Eoin Doyle however to ensure the game dodged extra-time and North End didn’t head into the game against Fulham on Saturday still searching for that elusive first win. PNE certainly created enough chances to win the game but another blank 90 minutes certainly might have concerned some, and still may even with the late winner. But there was enough there to suggest North End will score goals, with Grayson’s biggest decision now which of his many strikers will get the nod on Saturday, Doyle and Jordan Hugill both doing their cases no harm against Hartlepool.

PNE boss is taking the EFL Cup seriously

On a night where some sides made wholesale changes and exited the competition PNE boss Grayson made just the two on Tuesday night, one of which was enforced. Tom Clarke dropped out as expected after limping off against Reading while Jermaine Beckford was rested, Doyle taking his place alongside Joe Garner in attack. Alan Browne was the man to come in for Clarke as Grayson shifted to the four at the back system that finished the game on the opening day. The lack of rotation came as no surprise really despite Grayson having plenty of players in a deep squad to please. North End needed a positive result after the opening defeat to Reading and they got it, eventually.

Liam Grimshaw is more at home at right back

Hooked at half-time on his competitive debut it was good to see Liam Grimshaw show off some of his qualities against Hartlepool. Having struggled as a right wing back on the opening day he was in a more conventional full back position and it suited him, especially when out and out winger in Chris Humphrey came on to play in front of him. His strengths aren’t breaking up and down the right flank but you do know what you’ll get from the former Manchester United youngster and his whole-hearted approach. After PNE’s frustration at seeing a bid for Donald Love come up short, the Old Trafford prospect electing to join Sunderland, and with Tom Clarke touch and go for the weekend, it looks like Grimshaw will get more chances to grow into the role.