Waiting game for PNE duo

Simon Grayson
Simon Grayson
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Simon Grayson says Preston North End fans will get plenty of chance to see Stevie May and Eoin Doyle start games despite holding them back on the bench against Derby.

The PNE boss named both new signings among the substitutes for the 2-1 defeat to the Rams at Deepdale on Saturday.

Grayson introduced them both to the action in the 55th minute, with the strikers putting in lively displays as North End tried to close the deficit.

They did eventually pull a goal back, Daniel Johnson netting 12 minutes into stoppage-time.

Such a long spell of added-on time was necessary because of a head injury suffered by Derby skipper Chris Baird.

Explaining his reasons for having Doyle and May on the bench, Grayson told the Evening Post: “I did think about starting them but decided to go with the option I did.

“We didn’t really have the team together for much of the week because players were away on international duty.

“So they weren’t quite up to scratch with how we want to play.

“There is plenty of time for the lads to start, they will get plenty of game time – that is what they are here for.

“When they came on in the second half, Stevie and Eoin both showed what they are about.

“At the time we were chasing the game and had players up front who usually play as a two.

“We had three up there which sometimes meant they went for the same ball – at the end we went 4-4-2 with Eoin out wide which is a position he can do too.

“Partnerships will develop in time, everyone will get a better understanding of each other’s strengths.”

Both May and Doyle could get a start against Bristol City at Deepdale on Tuesday night.

Joe Garner should be fit for that game too, that despite the bang on the head he got in the clash which hospitalised Baird.

Garner was able to complete the game after treatment but is still in the hunt for his first goal of the season.

Said Grayson: “Joe was okay after the clash of heads, it didn’t do any damage.

“Joe is finding that he is a marked man because of all those goals he scored in the last couple of seasons.

“I’ve not got any concerns about Joe not having scored yet because once one goes in, he will get on a run very soon.

“He is working hard up there, getting into the positions and is still getting chances.

“The shot which hit the post and bounced back to the keeper is the type of chance which would have gone in last season.”

Grayson was unhappy with aspects of PNE’s play which led to them conceding twice in the first half.

He also felt that once Johnson had scored, his team could have been a bit more savvy in pushing for an equaliser.

In terms of defending for the first Derby goal, Grayson thought focus had been an issue.

“We have to make sure that we concentrate that little bit more now that we have stepped-up a division,” said Grayson.

“With the first goal, Tom Clarke was probably only two or three yards off Johnny Russell to stop it in the first place.

“Then when Russell put the ball in, I think it was Bailey Wright who was only a yard or two off Chris Martin.

“The Championship is all about that, last year in League One we might have got away with something like that.

“In League One, you wouldn’t have got someone picking out a pass like Russell did and you wouldn’t have seen it finished like Martin did.

“When we were trying to get back in during stoppage-time, it was a bit frustrating that we were messing around with the ball in the middle.

“That was the time when we needed to get the ball into the box, looking for something to drop and suddenly it could have been 2-2.

“I thought that it was a part of the game which we could have managed a bit better.”

Grayson revealed that a calf injury picked up in training on Friday and kept Paul Gallagher out of the weekend game.