The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Scott Hunt

PRE­STON manager Simon Grayson says his side need to im­prove – and quickly – de­spite claim­ing victory over strug­gling Coven­try at Deep­dale.

Kevin Davies’ first-half header se­cured Pre­ston’s first league win in six games and saw him fi­nally reach the land­mark of 150 ca­reer goals – af­ter 46 games on 149.

The re­sult means Coven­try have won just one of their last 20 meet­ings with Pre­ston and have never won in the league at Deep­dale.

Simon Grayson’s side beat Sh­effield United in an FA Cup re­play on Tues­day to set up a last16 tie against Manch­ester United next week­end.

The Pre­ston boss says the re­sult was more im­por­tant than their per­for­mance and has chal­lenged his play­ers to earn a spot in the team against United.

“Ul­ti­mately we’ve not done as well as we would like to do but we’ve got the three points which is all that mat­ters at times,” Grayson said.

“We’ve got the re­sult but if we play like that most weeks we’re not go­ing to get to where we want to get to.We set high stan­dards on Tues­day night and we didn’t re­ally reach them here.

“Kevin has been a won­der­ful ser­vant to the game and he thor­oughly de­serves to get to that mark it’s been a long time com­ing. His over­all play has been fan­tas­tic for us.

“I said to the play­ers, that those who are start­ing to­day, they’ve got the op­por­tu­nity to ei­ther lose or keep the shirt for a big cup tie so that should be a big in­cen­tive for them.

“If they don’t per­form in the games be­fore they won’t get the op­por­tu­nity to play in that tie. Sim­ple mo­ti­va­tion – play well and you’ll stay in the team.”

Pre­ston took the lead with the first real chance in the 21st minute when Paul Gal­lagher’s floated cross was met by Davies, who headed over Coven­try keeper Lee Burge and into the net from eight yards.

Davies al­most dou­bled his tally af­ter 34 min­utes when Gal­lagher’s cross evaded two de­fend­ers and was chested goal­wards by the striker six yards out – but Coven­try keeper Burge pushed it over the bar.

Frank Nou­ble should have equalised for Coven­try af­ter 57 min­utes as Luke Wil­liams picked him out from the right but Nou­ble skied his right-footed strike from six yards.

Coven­try built late pres­sure and Adam Bar­ton’s sweetly-struck vol­ley from 30 yards was well pushed away by Sam Johnstone af­ter 77 min­utes.

The Sky Blues are win­less in their last five league games but manager Steven Press­ley be­lieves that run will end soon.

“I’m very con­fi­dent that we can ar­rest this run,” Press­ley said. “The one thing is when you lose a game it’s the man­ner in which you lose a game.

“I think the ap­pre­ci­a­tion of the sup­port­ers at the end of the game, stay­ing be­hind ap­plaud­ing the play­ers kind of showed how much they ap­pre­ci­ated the ef­forts of the play­ers.

“The one dis­ap­point­ment for me is I re­ally feel for the play­ers be­cause they gave ev­ery­thing I asked of them.”

PIC­TURES: Me­dia Im­age Ltd



Pre­ston HEADS UP: Pre­ston for­ward Kevin Davies heads home

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