Ken’s tough week continues
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.”