Preston North End manager Simon Grayson was pleased with the competitive nature and his team’s performance in their latest pre-season match
The Lilywhites and Blackburn Rovers fought out a one-one draw at Deepdale in front of more than 5,000 fans, in what was a hard fought contest which both sides will have benefited greatly from.
Kevin Davies, on his home debut for Preston, gave the hosts an early lead before DJ Campbell levelled things up later in the first-half.
And it was a workout which the gaffer enjoyed.
Speaking to PNE.Com, Grayson said: “We always knew it was going to be a good competitive game, Blackburn have got some good players and play in a certain way which can make it difficult for you but I thought we got a lot out of it.
“We looked comfortable on the ball, we worked hard off it, just little bits and bobs, but I still think we could have done better in terms of dictating the play if possible, but all round I thought it was a good workout.
“I think we are getting to the stage now where we are ten days away from the season so you have really got to get the tempo going because you are only one or two games away from the start of the season, so you want to be getting that tempo with and without the ball, closing down.
“It is not like a practice match two weeks away ago where you are just finding your feet, it is a competitive game.
“You saw today there were tackles flying in, there was people working, hustling people on the ball, trying to pass with a purpose and defend when they had to defend from both teams, so I thought it was a real good competitive game for both teams.
“We have got to learn from experiences tonight that you can’t afford to give good strikers opportunities.
“We probably called upon Declan Rudd too many times tonight.
“People weren’t picking up when they needed to, two yards away from somebody in the box isn’t close enough when you are playing against the likes of Jordan Rhodes and DJ Campbell.
“It is important now that you start getting very close to 90 minutes because when you start the season games don’t last 65, 70 minutes, it is just that extra 15, 20 minutes when you start the season that can be a big factor, when you are getting tired and fatigued, then your concentration can waiver and you can make mistakes which can ultimately cost you games, so it is about time that players starting playing 90 minutes.”
Kevin Davies, starting his second pre-season game since arriving at North End and showed exactly what he brings to the table with a trademark header from a Lee Holmes corner; outmuscling and overpowering Rovers defender Grant Hanley in the process.
And the gaffer was pleased to see his new marksman off and running.
“Any striker wants to get on the scoresheet quickly,” continued Grayson.
“He got in the right place after a good delivery from Lee Holmes.
“Kevin again showed tonight what he is capable of doing both in the box for the goal, but his hold up play, his awareness of other people around him and that’s why we signed him and hopefully he will continue to contribute.”
One injury concern from the game for North End was a leg injury to John Welsh, sustained in a full blooded midfield tackle, but Grayson was quick to dispel any doubts over the seriousness of the injury.
Grayson continued: He got a dead leg just before half-time so we had to make sure that he didn’t make that any worse and hopefully he will be fit for the weekend.”