A week is long time for PNE ace Joe

Joe Garner at Bristol City at the weekend
Joe Garner at Bristol City at the weekend
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They say a week is a long time in football and the old adage never seemed so true this week for Preston North End.

It was only last week that Lilywhites fans were licking their lips at the prospect of a Joe Garner/Jermaine Beckford combination in attack.

But no sooner had the ink dried on Beckford’s loan deal that North End were rocked by the news that Garner will be out of action for up to four months after suffering a serious knee injury in the 1-0 victory over Bristol City at Ashton Gate.

In a further twist to the tale, Simon Grayson’s men have also lost the services of young loan star Callum Robinson, who was recalled shortly before the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy win – via a penalty shootout – over Oldham Athletic on Tuesday.

From having a relative embarrassment of riches just a few days ago, Grayson has been left scrambling around for reinforcements before today’s loan window closes at 5pm.

“Jermaine came in last week to enhance the squad and potentially play up front with Joe,” Grayson said.

“But now it’s obviously our call to see what’s out there to try to improve us. That’s football...things happen.

“This time last week, Joe was celebrating winning two awards at a football ceremony, but this week he suffered the news that he’s going to be out between three to four months or whateve it’s going to be.”

While hopeful of strengthening his squad today, Grayson also believes his squad is strong enough to cover the loss of both Garner and Robinson.

“It’s up to me to go out and try to recruit another player or two...even three, possibly.

“I have been given the green light from the owner of the club to go out and find somebody to keep us going along.

“But we have got players coming back.

“Andy Little is not far away, Kyel Reid played 90 minutes on Tuesday night in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.

“There’s Paul Gallagher and Chris Humphrey did not play on Tuesday.

“We have got strength in depth but it’s about trying to keep improving the squad.”

Grayson also has concerns at the other end of the pitch.

Bailey Wright has been a long-term absentee after undergoing groin surgery, while Tom Clarke limped off shortly after scoring the equaliser against North End.

“He got a knock on the ankle but knowing Tom, he will want to give it his best shot to be fit for the weekend,” Grayson said.