Momentum building for Preston

Alex Baptiste celebrates scoring PNE's first goal at Birmingham
Alex Baptiste celebrates scoring PNE's first goal at Birmingham
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Preston North End boss Simon Grayson believes his side are starting to build some momentum.

The 5-0 defeat at Brentford was followed up with wins over Bournemouth and Wigan before the 2-2 draw at Birmingham City last night.

PNE had to show their quality at both ends of the field, leading twice at St Andrew’s through Alex Baptiste and Daniel Johnson before having to battle hard for large parts of the second period to keep a rampant Blues side at bay.

Grayson said: “We spoke the other day about getting some consistency in our play and making sure that we’re going to give the opposition games and that we’re going to be hard to beat.

“They put us under pressure which was what we expected.

“We made changes, players have come into the team again and done a really good job with what’s required of them.”

Those changes saw Chris Humphrey, Ben Pearson, John Welsh and Daniel Johnson come into the side as Grayson reverted to his preferred system away from Deepdale of three central defenders.

It meant Aiden McGeady had to settle for a role as a late substitute while Paul Gallagher missed out through injury.

The PNE boss said: “Gally was injured and we just felt Pearson and DJ needed to come into team and they showed some real good quality.

“They worked hard for the team, covered the ground well and were a threat breaking forward.

“John Welsh gives them that protection in there as well to go and do that. The way we wanted to play that meant leaving Aiden out but we also needed to take into consideration the number of games he’s had and we don’t want him to be getting an injury.

“It was a precaution and about keeping him right too.”

While pleased with large parts of what he saw Grayson felt his side had enough openings to put Birmingham to bed.

He said: “We’re just disappointed that when we had those chances we didn’t really ask the questions of the keeper or have that really ruthless or clinical side to us.

“Just before half-time Jordan Hugill gets through after a great ball from DJ and Callum Robinson’s gone round the keeper and hit the side netting and Jordan and Ben got into some good positions and probably looked to cross rather than put their foot through it and work the keeper.

“We hit the woodwork as well. We’ve created a lot of chances and that’s a really pleasing part.”

The first goal had come from an unlikely source, Baptiste bundling home his first for PNE as Birmingham failed to clear a corner.

Grayson said: “It doesn’t matter how they go in.

“We’ve questioned the defenders about getting more goals. Tom Clarke got his the other week and now it’s nice for Baps to get one.

“They all count, you can hit one from 30 yards and it means the same the next morning.”