System fits PNE nicely

Simon Grayson felt recent additions to the squad allowed him to switch to a 4-4-2 system for Preston North End's victory over Cardiff City at Deepdale.

Wednesday, 14th September 2016, 3:00 pm
Updated Thursday, 15th September 2016, 3:58 pm
Preston North End's Marnick Vermijl battles with Cardiff City's Emyr Huws

The traditional formation is not one which Grayson has used too often in his tenure but it paid dividends as North End recorded their biggest league win for 11 months.

Grayson played Callum Robinson and Aiden McGeady on the wings, with Jordan Hugill and Eoin Doyle up front.

Alan Browne was recalled to the midfield alongside Paul Gallagher.

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A flat back four saw Alex Baptiste partner Tom Clarke in the middle, with Marnick Vermijl and Greg Cunningham in the full-back positions.

PNE boss Grayson told the Evening Post: “When you play 4-4-2 you have to make sure one of the strikers drops in to help the midfield if needs be.

“I don’t think we’ve had the players to use the formation too often either.

“You need attacking full-backs and bringing in Marnick Vermijl has given us the opportunity to play that way.

“It worked well against Cardiff but that is not to say we will play it every game.

“Different systems can suit different games and we have to be flexible.”

Grayson was happy again with the performance of McGeady, the loan signing from Everton getting through his second 90 minutes in four days.

After starting him behind the striker against Barnsley on Saturday, Grayson moved the Republic of Ireland international to the right wing.

“I’m really pleased to have got Aiden,” he said.

“He’s suffered a bit over the last couple of years but I’ve just told him to come here and play, do what he is best at which is taking people on.

“I want Aiden to express himself, get back to playing the type of football he was doing a few years ago.

“When you have players like him and Callum Robinson in the team, they can make things happen.”

Robinson’s performance in midweek also pleased Grayson.

“Callum has probably been our best player so far this season,” he said.

“He’s been very bright and confident, the lad gives us something a bit different.

“His goal was a good one and there was a chance before that when he should have taken a shot earlier.

“I had a word with him during half-time about taking the opportunity to get a shot away.

“Being positive is something I will never criticise anyone for.

“If Callum chooses to have a shot and misses the target, so be it – at least he’s had a go.”

PNE head to the capital on Saturday to face Brentford at Griffin Park.

With the Cardiff win under their belts, Grayson wants to see it built upon.

That was something they didn’t do after their previous victory at QPR, losing the next league game against Ipswich.

Grayson said: “We will get the preparation right and do as much work as possible in the time we have got.

“We are going there with confidence on the back of the Cardiff win but we won’t be over-confident.

“We’ll remain level-headed, work hard and try to get another good away result under our belts.”