Striking options for PNE

Stevie May (left) and Eoin Doyle (photo courtesy of PNE)
Stevie May (left) and Eoin Doyle (photo courtesy of PNE)
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Simon Grayson is looking forward to the striker selection headache which is coming his way after Preston North End’s swoop for Stevie May and Eoin Doyle.

The Lilywhites boss will have five front men to choose from against Derby County a week on Saturday, with the new boys going into the mix together with Joe Garner, Will Keane and Jordan Hugill.

Having such options over the coming weeks and months is crucial to North End establishing themselves in the Championship.

Both deals were completed yesterday afternoon ahead of the close of the transfer window.

May has signed a three-year contract after joining from Sheffield Wednesday.

The fee is understood to be seven figures when tax and the Football League levy is added.

Doyle’s switch from Cardiff is a season-long loan, PNE initially having enquired about a permanent deal.

With the Bluebirds not prepared to sell a player they only brought in January, the loan deal was struck.

Grayson said: “We always had the intention of signing another striker, then the news of Jermaine Beckford’s injury hastened things.

“When the opportunity came to do two deals, we grasped that and the last two days have been busy.

“I’m delighted that the owner has given us the chance to bring in two good strikers who are going to contribute to the competition in the squad.

“There is the flexibility within the squad to use different systems – we can play one up and one behind, two up front together or three up top. In the Championship when you are playing Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday, it is difficult for players at the top end of the pitch to maintain sharpness and freshness.

“We need different options to start games and options for the bench.”

It is third time lucky for PNE in terms of landing May, while Doyle comes at the second time of asking.

Having seen them go to Wednesday and Cardiff in the past is not a problem as far as Grayson is concerned.

“They are both lads who we have had a huge interest in before,” said Grayson.

“At the time we previously went for them, it probably was not the right move for them in terms of us then being a League One club.

“They wanted to go to the Championship and I have no qualms about that.

“A big factor for me is that when they were not getting game time, they expressed a desire to go out and play football.

“Others might have sat on their backsides and collected their money but these two wanted to contribute here.”

Grayson had been hoping to bring in a centre-back too but that fell through.

He said: “We had a deal agreed but the club involved got an injury and didn’t have the cover to let the player we wanted come here.

“We could go down that avenue when the loan market opens.”