Graham’s learning

Settled: Graham Cummins is getting accustomed to what is required of him at PNE
Settled: Graham Cummins is getting accustomed to what is required of him at PNE
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Graham Westley believes a patient approach to the development of Graham Cummins will pay off for Preston North End.

The Irish striker has had a tough first 12 months with North End after moving to England from Cork City in last year’s January window.

But an impressive performance in the 2-2 draw with Coventry a week ago in which he found the net was an indication that he is beginning to find his feet.

Cummins is likely to lead the attack in this afternoon’s home game against Shrewsbury Town, a clash in which PNE go in search of their first league win at Deepdale in more than four month.

While the 25-year-old went straight into the Preston side upon his arrival last year, he was always going to need a settling-in period.

Westley said: “Cummins had to first make the adjustment from the Irish League to English football. He went from part-time to full-time football which is a big jump, how that adjustment is made varies from player to player.

“We’ve seen with Jack King how quickly he adapted physically to the full-time game after his move, although technically and tactically his development has been a bit slower.

“Cummins certainly showed us last week what he can do, I thought he looked physically much stronger. He was able to impose himself on the game a lot more and of course scored our first goal that day.

“When players move up a level they need time to adjust, that is why managers ask for patience with them.

“Cummins started last week and deservedly so, he initially earned the right by the work he has done on the training ground.

“He’s trained with quality and is starting to do the things you need to do as a League One striker – that can only be good for us.

“Last season we had the odd moment from him – his headers at Sheffield United and Tranmere.

“Earlier on in this one there was the header against Carlisle.

“He’s worked really hard to get into a better shape and mindset.”

Westley, meanwhile, has defended the condition of the Deepdale pitch which wasn’t in its best state for the Coventry game. Supporters will be interested to see whether there has been an improvement for Shrewsbury’s visit.

North End had trained on the pitch several times leading up to last week’s clash, although this week have been back at Springfields.

Said Westley: “I actually thought the pitch played okay in the Coventry game.

“Whatever it looked like doesn’t matter.

“Crawley’s pitch the other night looked alright, but the mud patches on it were something else. The reality with our pitch is that it drains very well although there are some issues with the grass growth.

“I think the pitch benefited from us doing a bit of work on it – we trained on it three or four times leading up to playing Coventry.

“It probably softened up the top surface a little bit which can often be quite hard. At this time of year you will always get difficulties with your pitch with having covers on them at night.

“Last week the groundstaff did brilliantly to get the game on.”