Preston North End manager Simon Grayson has given Eoin Doyle and Jordan Hugill a pat on the back as he searches for a winning formula up front.
The pair came off the bench early in the second half of Saturday’s defeat to Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough.
Both had headed chances to get on the scoresheet but their lively displays gave Grayson food for thought for when Championship action resumes after the international break.
Hugill certainly has a chance of starting PNE’s next game against Cardiff City a week on Saturday – Doyle cannot play against his parent club.
Grayson said: “Jordan and Eoin gave us an impetus – they ran the channels, held the ball up and got on the end of things.
“I was slightly disappointed with Stevie May and Will Keane, who I think didn’t affect the game much.
“That is why I made the decision to take them off and bring the other two on.”
Before the weekend, Grayson challenged his front men to try and catch the eye during Joe Garner’s absence through suspension.
Garner has two more games of his ban to serve, against Cardiff and then the visit to Charlton on October 20.
If Hugill gets the nod against the Bluebirds, it would be his first league start for Preston.
The 23-year-old’s last three appearances off the bench have been good, pushing him closer to a start.
Grayson intends playing Hugill in a practice game this week to up his sharpness.
“People may ask why we haven’t started with Jordan, but he was out injured quite recently and there has not been a lot of time to get a lot of fitness work into him,” said Grayson.
“We’ve got this two-week period between league games and we will have a match this week to get him 90 minutes.
“Nine times out of 10, the header he had at Hillsborough would have been food and drink for him.”
All of Preston’s strikers have yet to score in the league this season, the midfield having the exclusivity on goals.
Daniel Johnson, Paul Gallagher, Alan Browne and Neil Kilkenny have found the net in Championship action.
Grayson is looking forward to some time on the training pitch with his squad during the international break.
He hopes that will enable them to find some form in the next block of games.
“We will keep working hard and look for that work to pay off when the games start again,” said Grayson.
“I will be looking for our concentration levels to be better and for decision-making to be better.
“You make two or three mistakes at this level and you don’t give yourself a chance to win a game.
“They are an honest bunch of players and we always knew it would be a hard season.
“We believe in ourselves and every game we have played this season we have been in it and given it a right go.
“But it’s about doing it for the full 90 minutes.”