PNE can bank on Beckford

Jermain Beckford
Jermain Beckford
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Simon Grayson believes Jermaine Beckford can fill the void left by Preston North End striker Joe Garner’s injury.

The former Leeds United and Everton frontman was brought to the club late last week – primarily with the view of partnering him in attack with leading scorer Garner.

But events took an unexpected twist earlier this week when news broke that Garner faced up to four months on the sidelines after suffering a serious knee injury in Saturday’s 1-0 win at League One leaders Bristol City.

That injury – along with the sudden recall of loanee Callum Robinson by his parent club Aston Villa on Tuesday – forced Grayson to delve into the loan market before the window shut at 5pm on Thursday.

He was able to tie up a deal to borrow young Middlesbrough and England Under-19s forward Bradley Fewster until the end of the season.

It is unlikely Grayson will throw the 18-year-old straight in at the deep end for today’s encounter against Yeovil Town at Huish Park.

Like his handling of Robinson, the PNE boss is expected to integrate Fewster into his squad slowly, but surely.

However, in 30-year-old Beckford, Grayson has a player with the necessary experience and status to handle the task of filling Garner’s rather big boots.

With 36 goals from his last 55 appearances in North End colours, Garner is going to be a huge miss.

But if Beckford can rediscover his form of old then Grayson has a ready-made replacement. Although he has shown the ability to find the back of the net at every level he has played at – which includes his time with Everton in the Premier League – it is in League One where Beckford has been most prolific.

In three full seasons spent with Leeds – working predominately under Grayson – in the third tier of English football from 2007 to 2010, Beckford plundered 85 goals in 141 appearances.

“Jermaine and Joe are different types of players,” Grayson said. “They both have their strengths and weaknesses but one thing they both do is score goals.

“Under me, Jermaine has scored goals at both Leeds and Huddersfield – hence why we have brought him in. We think he can score goals no matter who he comes up against.

“Like I say, Jermaine and Joe are different types of players but we have to play to Jermaine’s strengths as we used to play to Joe’s strengths.

“I can play two up front or one up front with Jermaine – that will be down to my decision as to what system we will play.

“I’m certainly very confident in Jermaine’s ability to get goals.

“His record at League One level is incredible but it won’t just all be down to him.

“We were not a one-man team when we had Joe in the team and we won’t just rely on Jermaine if he starts scoring.

“It’s down to everybody in the team to score goals. Scott Laird scored the other night, Tom Clarke, Chris Humphrey and Paul Gallagher have all got goals in them.”