Ken’s tough week con­tin­ues

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Michael Beard­more

AF­TER see­ing one of Wolves’ se­nior mem­bers of staff blast exstriker Benik Afobe for ‘not try­ing’ this week, the word ‘ef­fort’ was very much on the lips of boss Kenny Jack­ett.

A war of words be­tween Afobe and Wolves – whose head of de­vel­op­ment and re­cruit­ment Kevin Thel­well made the re­marks – over­shad­owed Wan­der­ers’ build-up to this clash.

And goals from Paul Gal­lagher and Adam Reach handed in-form Pre­ston vic­tory – with sub Joe Ma­son pulling one back.

But de­spite see­ing his fal­ter­ing side out­played, Jack­ett was no­tably quick to hail the com­mit­ment of his labour­ing troops, even if they were short on qual­ity.

Jack­ett said:“There was no lack of ef­fort out there. When we got back to 2-1, the play­ers huffed and puffed and put a lot of ef­fort in.

“But they couldn’t find the clearcut chances to get us any­thing out of the game.”

Wolves fans turned on the board dur­ing the se­cond half and Jack­ett said he un­der­stood their frus­tra- tions, adding: “The wins haven’t come at home this sea­son. At home the goals against col­umn has been too high – that’s the eighth time out of 16 we have con­ceded two or more at home. To be suc­cess­ful, you need ze­roes and ones.”

Jack­ett also felt naivety cost Wolves the opener with James Henry strug­gling with an in­jury, adding: “While he was down or wait­ing to be re­placed, we re­ally should have played the ball out, got the sub­sti­tute on and re­or­gan­ised. We tried to play out with ten men, which was a poor de­ci­sion and a key one as Gal­lagher has played a good one-two and scored. It was a poor call and poor judge­ment from us.”

That goal was the least Pre­ston de­served for a fine open­ing spell.

Gal­lagher col­lected Joe Garner’s clever dink over the top of the home de­fence and lobbed on- rush­ing keeper Carl Ikeme from 10 yards.

Wolves were woe­ful but al­most grabbed an un­de­served lev­eller as Nathan Byrne’s 25-yard free­kick hit the post.

North End prac­ti­cally sealed the points eight min­utes into the se­cond half as Reach pounced on a weak punch from Ikeme to drill into the bot­tom cor­ner from ten yards.

Ma­son gave Wolves hope as he rounded Anders Lin­de­gaard and tucked home from Conor Coady’s through ball but Pre­ston saw out the game with ease.

A late play-off push is not out of the ques­tion for Si­mon Grayson’s men who have leapfrogged Wolves into 11th place af­ter five wins from eight.

But Grayson said:“Our sole pur­pose was to make sure we are still in this divi­sion next sea­son and all we will do is keep work­ing hard.

“We’ve had no ex­pectancy lev­els since we’ve got pro­moted and we can just see where this form takes us.

“We’re en­joy­ing com­ing to places like this, to big clubs, and get­ting re­sults. We’ve done it at Burn­ley and Derby too.

“We will fin­ish where we de­serve to fin­ish. We know we’re in for a tough game next week against Sh­effield Wed­nes­day but we will go into it with con­fi­dence and a gen­uine be­lief that we can beat any­body.

“We dom­i­nated the first half to­day and never re­ally al­lowed Wolves near our goal as well as al­ways look­ing a threat go­ing for­ward. We thor­oughly de­served the two goals and even af­ter Wolves scored we looked very com­fort­able. It was a re­ally pleas­ing and pro­fes­sional per­for­mance.”

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