SEAN GREGAN'S EXCLUSIVE COLUMN
I imagine the board at Preston North End will be doing everything in their power to bring a proven Championship centre forward to the club before the end of the transfer window on Wednesday.
Joe Garner’s high-profile departure to Rangers a couple of weeks ago has highlighted the need to strengthen the forward line at Deepdale.
Even if Garner would have stayed, I still think manager Simon Grayson would have been looking to bring somebody else in – just to provide more competition.
I noticed Jermaine Beckford was substituted early on in the 1-0 defeat to Ipswich on Saturday and that seems to be a nother problem at the moment – keeping him fit for long enough.
Obviously, he missed a massive amount of last season and when he is injured, he is a big miss.
Beckford will always score goals no matter what level of football it is. He’s a goalscorer and if you keep him fit, he will score.
H e just seems to be in a little bit of a rut where he’s picking up injuries or knocks – whether that’s down to his age I don’t know?
I think without Garner and Beckford, the centre forward department does look a little inexperienced at the moment.
The problem Preston have though is the way the transfer market is these days.
The huge figures some of the clubs are paying for players means the market becomes inflated and it’s a real struggle for North End, who we know have not got massive amounts of money to spend.
I think goals have been a problem for North End ever since they won promotion back to the Championship.
They were one of the lowest scorers last season and so far this year, they have only managed three in five games.
The loss to Ipswich on Saturday is a case in point. If you don’t score goals, you’re not going to win games.
They have not been outplayed in any game this season, but you can’t just keep relying on the defence to keep clean sheets.
Losing four out of the first five games league games is obviously a concern and a little bit worrying for the fans.
But Grayson will not be panicking one bit.
There’s an international break coming up and it’s probably come at a good time. It’s a chance to take a little bit of a breather and regroup.
I have no doubt that the manager will get things right.He’s been very successful in his time at the club and everybody needs to get behind him now more than ever.
On another note, it will be interesting to see how Garner fares in Scotland.
You probably can’t really blame him for going. It’s a massive club, massive fanbase and is steeped in history.
However, I don’t think the standard of the SPL is that great – I think I have said before that I know players who have played up there who have compared the standard to League One. If he’s gone for the money, you can’t really blame him either. Preston accepted the offer – they did not have to.
I would have loved him to have stayed because I think he’s been a good player for the club.
A few people have asked me whether I would have played north of the border if the opportunity had presented itself during my career.
Hand on heart, I don’t think I would have left Preston to play for Rangers or Celtic in the SPL. The only reason I left Preston when I did was to play in the Premier League.
I was 28 at the time and it was a case of now or never if I was ever going to try my luck at the highest level.