We’ll adapt to Becks blow says PNE skipper

Tom Clarke on the ball with Hull City's Chuba Akpom in attendance
Tom Clarke on the ball with Hull City's Chuba Akpom in attendance
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Captain Tom Clarke believes the loss of Jermaine Beckford is massive but says Preston North End will adapt to the blow.

Beckford missed yesterday’s clash at Hull City and North End boss Simon Grayson revealed the striker is set to see a surgeon after the knee injury he sustained against Motherwell in pre-season flared up again after training on Friday.

Grayson said Beckford could be out for weeks, possibly months and Clarke admitted he is gutted but believes that North End will adapt.

Speaking about how big a loss Beckford will be to the side after the 2-0 defeat at the KC Stadium, Clarke said: “It is massive. I’m gutted for him because he has come back and done really well in training.

“It is gutting but we are going to have to adapt.”

PNE again failed to convert chances into goals and score when they were on top.

Hull punished the Lilywhites and opened the scoring with a fluke goal.

Neil Kilkenny cleared the ball off the line straight at Abel Hernandez and the ball rebounded into the net in the 37th minute.

Substitute Alan Browne had North End’s best chance of the half within minutes of coming off the bench but his close-range header just flew over the bar.

Hull settled the game in the 82nd minute as Curtis Davies lost his marker Clarke to volley Shaun Maloney’s corner home in fierce fashion.

Clarke says the team are disappointed to have conceded twice from set-piece and that the manner of the goals was hard to take.

He said: “They got a lucky goal which is disheartening for us and the second just killed the game off.

“The first goa) was difficult to take, a set-play and then he has gone to clear the ball and its just hit the lad. I don’t think he knew much about it. Obviously the goal was gutting.

“It was a great ball in for the second, a great corner and he has managed to volley it.

“That is something we are disappointed with. We work hard on set-plays and who is marking who.”

Clarke says that the harsh reality of Championship football is that North End need to score when they are on top and find a clinical edge – or pay the price.

He said: “I thought we started really well.

“We had a few chances in that 20-minute spell, maybe we could have got one or two goals. We didn’t and that is the difference really in this league.

“Then Hull get on top and start to change their shape to match ours and that is the difference in this league.

“When we are on top we have got to create chances and put them away.

“We are starting games really well and creating chances. Remember in the Ipswich game, we created chances and we should have gone in front.

“That is something that we need to take into the games now. We’re going to be working hard in the international break, working on stuff and hopefully it will help.”

Browne’s 74th-minute miss was highlighted by Grayson and Hull boss Steve Bruce as a key point in the game but Clarke defended the young midfielder.

He said: “I think it was a little too high for him. It was a great chance. Gally’s stood it up well, unfortunately chances are not going our way at the minute.”