PNE set for action again

Tommy Spurr and Alex Baptiste after PNE conceded the late equaliser
Tommy Spurr and Alex Baptiste after PNE conceded the late equaliser
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Preston make their first trip to Burton Albion’s Pirelli Stadium today looking for a quick pick-up from the disappointment of conceding a late equaliser against Sheffield Wednesday.

The Lilywhites were worthy of all three points in Saturday’s clash with Wednesday but were pegged back by a 94th-minute equaliser from former loan player Adam Reach.

Simon Grayson took plenty of positives from the 1-1 draw though, and is looking for a winning finish to the Christmas and New Year programme in Staffordshire this afternoon.

Mindful of playing two games in three days, PNE boss Grayson will freshen his side up against Burton.

He has new signings Tom Barkhuizen, Andy Boyle and Daryl Horgan available.

Whether Grayson throws any of them in from the start, remains to be seen.

Barkhuizen would seem to be the most ‘match ready’ of the trio, the ex-Morecambe man having been training with PNE since November.

Former Dundalk pair Boyle and Horgan had a couple of sessions with the squad before Christmas and rejoined the group last week.

Grayson said: “Playing two games in three days is something we have been mindful of with our preparations.

“We had an eye on the Burton game with the team we picked on Saturday.

“What we have to be aware of is that there are players who cannot play twice in three days. We’ll pick a team which can hopefully win this game.

“There were players who weren’t in the 18 on Saturday who are champing at the bit to play.”

A bonus for Grayson in the Wednesday game were how long Paul Gallagher and Aiden McGeady lasted.

Both had been sidelined by calf injuries, Gallagher lasting the full game and McGeady 88 minutes.

“We were only expecting 60 minutes from McGeady,” said Grayson.

“But he hit that spell where he was unplayable.

“Mindful of him picking up an injury, I moved him into the No.10 position in the second half and played Callum Robinson out wide.

“McGeady showed his quality there – his play for the goal was very good.

“Gally was very instrumental in the first half and did a job in the second half.

“It was nice to have them both back and we will see where they are at for Burton.”

On the transfer front, Ben Davies was due to join a League One club on loan today, his exit following that of Chris Humphrey on Friday.

Humphrey cancelled his contract by mutual consent and the following day signed for Scottish club Hibernian.

Said Grayson: “Chris had the choice of a number of clubs and decided to go to Hibs.

“He was one of my first signings here and has been very instrumental in what we have done – I wish him well.

“Hopefully he will have a good time up there with Neil Lennon and Garry Parker.”