Grayson: Form of other strikers limited Mak’s PNE game time

Preston North End's Simon Makienok celebrates his hat-trick in the win over Bournemouth.
Preston North End's Simon Makienok celebrates his hat-trick in the win over Bournemouth.

Simon Makienok’s shortage of first-team starts at Preston was down to the form of others, according to Lilywhites boss Simon Grayson.

The Great Dane will return to parent club Palermo this summer after PNE chose not to extend his season-long loan.

Makienok started only 10 games – seven of those in the Championship – while he came off the bench 19 times.

He scored six goals, his big moment being a hat-trick in September’s EFL Cup victory against Bournemouth.

Grayson told the Post: “The fact Simon didn’t start too much was probably down to other lads doing so well.

“He was a bit of a last throw of the dice in a game, a player who gave us something a bit different.

“Simon wants more game-time and he is contracted to Palermo for another year. He was good to work with and we wish him well.”

All of Makienok’s goals came in away games.

After getting off the mark at Bournemouth, he headed a stoppage-time equaliser in the 2-2 draw with Brighton.

The 26-year-old then scored in successive games at Nottingham Forest and Bristol City before Christmas.

Makienok was not in the squad at Wolves on Sunday, his last game being the week before against Rotherham.

In what seems to be the norm these days, he said his goodbyes on social media.

And his words were not quite so warm for Grayson as they were for his team-mates.

Posting on Instagram, Makienok said: “Just wanted to send a quick shout-out to the fans and my team-mates at PNE this season.

“Been taken good care of by all of you and even though the gaffer didn’t show me alotta love, I still feel you guys had my back from day one.

“Highlight was definitely my hat-trick against Bournemouth last year. All the best in the future everyone.”

Makienok’s departure and that of Jermaine Beckford, is creating space for summer business up front.

The future of Eoin Doyle is not clear either, the Irishman having spent the second half of the season on loan with Portsmouth.

North End have Jordan Hugill, Callum Robinson, Tom Barkhuizen and Stevie May to play up front.

Barkhuizen and Robinson are also options out wide, so there is plenty of scope for a new face or two up front.

Hugill finished as PNE’s top scorer with 12 league goals and one in the EFL Cup, Robinson netting 11 in the league and one in the FA Cup.

Aiden McGeady was third highest with eight league goals, Barkhuizen in fourth place with six.

North End had 18 different scorers in the league, while two own goals were scored by QPR and Newcastle.