Wembley hero Beckford has played his last game for PNE
Simon Grayson hopes that Preston North End fans will remember striker Jermaine Beckford with fondness after his time at Deepdale came to an end.
Beckford was a 66th minute substitute in the 1-0 defeat to Wolves yesterday, Grayson announcing after the Molineux clash that the front man was being released.
Danish goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard is also leaving – like Beckford his contract runs out in the summer – and Simon Makienok is returning to parent club Palermo after his loan stay.
Lindegaard and Makienok were not in the squad for the Wolves game but there was one last hurrah for Beckford, that his 60th appearance in a Preston shirt.
The most memorable of those games was the League One play-off final at Wembley when he scored a hat-trick in a 4-0 victory over Swindon.
That treble was among 18 goals he scored in the 2014/15 campaign after signing on loan from Bolton.
He joined North End on a Bosman after Wembley but the last two seasons did not work out the way it was hoped.
A knee injury kept him out for much of last term, then in December he was sent-off in successive games.
Grayson said: “Jermaine got us to the Championship, his performances in the build-up to Wembley and then his hat-trick there will go down in Preston North End history and folklore.
“I wish him well and I’m sure he will carry on playing and someone will benefit from having him at their club.”
Beckford, 33, last night posted a farewell message on his Instagram account.
It read: “I just wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you to all involved with Preston North End for everything you have given to my family and I.
“We’ve endured some tough times and some amazing days – those days will stick with me forever and a day.
“Now I leave this great club in a better place than when I first started and I can only thank you for all the incredible memories. Good luck for the future!”
Grayson’s decision to let Lindegaard go is no surprise, with him having lost his place as first-choice keeper to Chris Maxwell in September.
Makienok also found his chances limited in North End’s attack and the big striker returns to Palmero where he has a year left on his contract.
Yesterday’s defeat was the fifth in six games for PNE, it disappointing Grayson.
Wolves’ winner came from their skipper Danny Batth in the first minute.
“Our decision-making was wrong, we should have played a little bit longer to turn them get into their final third more,” said Grayson.
“We played too much in front of them.”