Pearson shows the way

PNE midfielder Ben Pearson caught the eye as a sub against Wigan
PNE midfielder Ben Pearson caught the eye as a sub against Wigan
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Simon Grayson is pleased with the way some of the Preston players have forced their way back into first-team contention over the last two games.

The PNE boss made full use of his squad for last week’s wins over Bournemouth and Wigan Athletic.

After making 10 changes at Bournemouth, four of that team retained their places to face Wigan on Friday night.

Chris Maxwell, Bailey Wright, Simon Makienok and Greg Cunningham – the only player who started the 5-0 defeat at Brentford to start at Bournemouth – were the four.

Ben Pearson also made a positive impact from the bench later in the Wigan game after a strong display against Bournemouth.

Pearson’s appearance for the last 18 minutes against Wigan was his first taste of Championship action this season.

Grayson told the Evening Post: “Ben was one of our best players at Bournemouth and had the Wigan game been on Saturday and not Friday, he would probably have started.

“It was just that after 120 minutes in midweek, the recovery time was slightly less with us playing Friday night.

“Ben really impressed me, not only with his work ethic but with his ability on the ball.

“That is why we signed him, he has got strength and I thought he affected the game when he came on.

“Ben has not been involved too much this season, Simon Makeinok was the same until last week.

“So when players come in and do well, having kept themselves fit and in the right condition during their time out of the side, it is very pleasing.”

Pearson has certainly played his way into the frame for tomorrow night’s visit to Birmingham City.

A big call from Grayson on Friday night was to hand Maxwell his first league appearance in the Preston goalkeeper’s jersey.

Maxwell, who produced a good display at Bournemouth, displaced Anders Lindegaard.

Said Grayson: “Everyone at this club knows that if they are doing well, they will get an opportunity.

“Whether you are a keeper or an outfield player, we will give people a chance.

“Chris has been doing really well, he has been pushing Anders and I made that call.

“Sometimes you have to make those decisions.”

Maxwell will retain the gloves as North End go looking for another good result at Birmingham.

PNE scouts ran the rule over the Blues in their 1-1 draw at Queens Park Rangers on Saturday.

Grayson was at Villa Park for Aston Villa’s clash with Newcastle – Preston host Villa on Saturday and play Newcastle twice next month.

“The lads had Saturday off while the staff had the chance to get out and watch games,” said Grayson.

“We were in for training yesterday, starting our work for another tough game at Birmingham – one we are looking forward to.”