Preston North End striker Jayden Stockley pushing for a start after being PNE's most used substitute this season

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The statistics show Jayden Stockley is the player who Preston North End boss Alex Neil turns to most often from the bench.

Yet there are growing calls for him to be given a start as PNE look to get back among the goals in their attempts to reach the play-offs.

Stockley has come off the bench 17 times in league games this season.

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Brad Potts has done so 14 times, Josh Harrop on 13 occasions and David Nugent in 11 matches.

Preston North End striker Jayden StockleyPreston North End striker Jayden Stockley
Preston North End striker Jayden Stockley | jpimedia

Only six times has Stockley started in the league, five of those in November and December.

The 26-year-old has found the net twice, once as a starter against Huddersfield and when he came on against Luton in December and scored the winner.

It is Luton who North End face at Kenilworth Road on Saturday.

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Stockley was a 73rd-minute substitute in the Deepdale defeat to QPR, replacing Paul Gallagher, who was struggling with a tight calf muscle.

Jayden Stockley replaces Paul Gallagher during Preston's defeat against QPR at DeepdaleJayden Stockley replaces Paul Gallagher during Preston's defeat against QPR at Deepdale
Jayden Stockley replaces Paul Gallagher during Preston's defeat against QPR at Deepdale | jpimedia

His arrival seemed to be the cue for PNE to start aiming balls from deep up to him, which gave the frontman little chance of making an impact.

Post-match, Neil said the plan had been to work the ball up the wings and send over crosses from higher up the pitch.

Instead, the ball was being put in far too early.

Neil said: “We wanted to get the ball down the sides, that is why we went to wing-backs rather than with wingers.

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Jayden Stockley scores for Preston against Luton Town at Deepdale in DecemberJayden Stockley scores for Preston against Luton Town at Deepdale in December
Jayden Stockley scores for Preston against Luton Town at Deepdale in December | jpimedia

“Wide players stand against full-backs and by then QPR had dropped back into their shape.

“Wing-backs standing slightly off meant the full-backs had to come searching for them and that allows space to open up for quality crosses.

“For that to happen you have to move the ball quickly and get it down the sides.

“Unfortunately we started to play a lot of balls from deep and with very little quality.

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“Jayden was having to fight two or three players and what happened was QPR headed clear and were breaking on us.

“The quality of the ball up to him was our problem.”

Stockley coming on had given Sean Maguire company up front but little was created with them both up there.

Said Neil: “Sometimes if you go two up front, you end up with a block of players in a line.

“You have to be cuter than that, drop off to find some room and play.

“It’s something we have to do better with.”