PNE boss has plenty of striking options

Leading scorer: Joe Garner has been in top form for North End this season
Leading scorer: Joe Garner has been in top form for North End this season
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Simon Grayson admits to wondering whether he has too much of a good thing in the striker department at Preston North End.

The PNE manager has a vast array of attacking options at his disposal, with six players – Kevin and Craig Davies, Joe Garner, Stuart Beavon, Iain Hume and Paul Gallagher – all vying for a place.

Only Garner has reached double figures in terms of goals this season, while the PNE boss has often rued the lack of a cutting edge in front of goal, which has possibly led to his side drawing games they should have won.

Grayson has used many different variations in attack so far this campaign and is hopeful of finding the right formula in the final 15 games of the season which will steer his men to promotion.

He has admitted to directing a few admiring – and interested – glances along the M65 to North End’s old enemy Burnley.

The Clarets are right in the mix for promotion to the Premier League this season.

But until they swooped for Brighton’s Ashley Barnes in the January transfer window, they have risen to second in the Championship by utilising just two recognised strikers.

Danny Ings and Sam Vokes have played in virtually every game for Burnley this season and have notched 40 goals between them.

It has certainly made Grayson sit up and take note.

When asked how he picks two players from the striking options available to him, jokingly Grayson said: “I just pick two names out of a hat!

“But it can be a difficult decision.

“Sometimes you base your decision on who is playing well or what the opposition is.

“Sometimes you can have too many options. You look at Burnley, with Sam Vokes and Danny Ings – they are really the only two strikers Burnley have got so they are going to play every week.

“Hence probably that’s why they are doing so well.

“But I just think it’s a great option for me to have to be able to change it around if we need to do.

“Craig Davies missed the other night against MK Dons and Kevin Davies came in and did very well.

“You’ve got Stuart Beavon, Paul Gallagher and Ian Hume on the bench. It’s good to have those options.

“I think all managers are greedy. If you look at all successful teams in the past, they have had a lot of strikers to freshen things up at different stages of the season.

“Coming in to the last 15 games of the season, some teams might be physically and mentally tired – but I don’t think we are.

“We are looking strong and we have the options to freshen things up if we need to.”

North End’s run-in to the end of the season does not – at first glance – appear too daunting. Out of the three teams above, they only have current League One leaders Brentford to play.

But over the next few weeks they face a number of the teams below them, including fifth-placed Rotherham United at Deepdale on Tuesday.

“We just have to focus on each game,” said Grayson.

“You have to be careful not to dismiss the sides below you.”