PNE speeding up the table

Marnick Vermijl scored for PNE within three minutes of coming on
Marnick Vermijl scored for PNE within three minutes of coming on
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Simon Grayson felt that pace played a key part in Preston’s win over Rotherham, one which took them to within three points of the play-off positions.

Goals from Jordan Hugill, Callum Robinson and Marnick Vermijl delivered a 3-1 victory at the New York Stadium.

Hugill and Robinson netted headers in the first half, the Lilywhites then playing a counter-attacking game after the interval to good effect.

Aiden McGeady’s return to action after a month out with a hamstring injury, injected more pace into the side.

North End boss Grayson said: “We have some pace in the team – Daniel Johnson carries the ball well, then you have got McGeady, Robinson and Vermijl who are quick.

“Jermaine Beckford too, who came on at the end, has plenty of pace.

“You need that in modern-day football when you go to places where team put you under pressure.

“You need to be able to break quickly and get to the other end of the pitch.

“That pace resulted in our third goal. DJ carried the ball probably 40 or 50 yards and Marnick made up the ground to get in at the far post.

“That is part and parcel of putting a team together to play in a certain way.”

Vermijl had only been on the pitch three minutes when he found the net, put on as a 77th-minute substitute for Ben Pringle.

He had also hit the post when on a late sub against Newcastle the week before, the Belgian clearly determined to make an impact. Said Grayson: “Marnick can do both the defensive and attacking side of the game.

“The goal he scored on Saturday was similar to what he did at Bolton last season.

“You know what you are going to get with him defensively, then he has got the pace to get up the pitch.

“I thought Ben Pringle had done well but bringing Marnick on gave us something a bit different as we looked to see the game through.”

The win moved Preston up to 11th, three points behind sixth-placed Leeds.

Victory in South Yorkshire was achieved with a midfield missing the services of Ben Pearson, Alan Browne and John Welsh.

“Paul Gallagher went back into the middle with DJ, who has been playing very well recently,” said Grayson.

“In front of them we had McGeady, Robinson and Pringle, who inter-changed.

“They had the licence to express themselves going forward but when we lost the ball, they had to track back.”

North End lost the services of Hugill in the 55th minute, the striker coming off after a couple of collisions.

Grayson said: “He landed awkwardly, jarring his knee and possibly twisting his ankle.

“When Jordan went off, your first thought would have been to bring on Jermaine.

“But Simon Makienok was the better option, his height helping us to deal with the balls which Rotherham put into our box.”