PNE look for striking reinforcements

Tom Clarke and Paul Huntingon leave the field at the end of the game
Tom Clarke and Paul Huntingon leave the field at the end of the game
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Simon Grayson is looking to do more incoming business in the remainder of the transfer window to strengthen Preston North End’s attacking options.

PNE’s hopes of reaching Wembley in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy were ended by Walsall at the Bescot Stadium last night.

The second leg ended in a goalless draw after the Saddlers had won 2-0 at Deepdale three weeks ago.

North End lacked a cutting edge in the final third, only really looking a serious threat in the closing few minutes when they had three efforts blocked on the line and hit the woodwork.

Grayson started with Kevin Davies as a lone striker, replacing him later with Sylvan Ebanks-Blake from the bench.

That tactic drew plenty of criticism from the Preston fans who felt a more attacking approach was needed.

But Grayson said: “We had to be so careful with Sylvan.

“The reason he didn’t start last night was because we had to be careful with him having played his first 90 minutes for a long time on Saturday.

“At the back end of the game we threw Jack King up front which he has done before although that is not his most natural position.

“It shows we are a bit short in that area.

“I would like to try and bring in another player at the top end of the pitch, we will have to wait and see if we manage to do that.

“We might have to manoeuvre one or two players out to make that happen over the next few days.

“I have spoken to people and said I would like to bring in another attacking force.

“I’m not saying a central striker necessarily but someone who can play down the middle or out wide, give us that bit of quality we are missing at the moment.

“Kyel Reid was good last night and he will build on performances.

“We have still got players to come back who will be massive for us and give us that edge.”

Reflecting on the tie as a whole, Grayson admitted the damage had been done in the home leg.

He said: “You can’t fault the players’ attitude, we worked really hard and stopped them from playing.

“We huffed and puffed by did not have the real quality needed to break them down.

“To concede the two goals in the first leg made it a difficult task but we genuinely felt we could turn it round.

“We were good in certain parts of the game but just lacked that cutting edge and quality when getting into the final third when it really mattered.

“We had to be careful we didn’t lose the tie so early on when there was nothing in it.

“As the game went on we had to take a few more chances and play different systems.

“We went for it but didn’t have the quality in the area where it mattered.

“Their keeper made some fantastic saves, we hit the bar and they made some good blocks.

“We are just not getting the breaks at the moment but are also not showing the composure and quality.”