PRE­STON AIM TO PRESS ON NOW! Play-off aim for Grayson and co

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Kay­ley Dick­in­son

the club that Luke is not happy with but his main job is to coach the group and im­prove them.

“I don’t want him not tak­ing train­ing on a cer­tain day be­cause he has to go and watch a Premier League Un­der-21s game, for ex­am­ple.

“I have Sea­mus Brady and a cou­ple of trusted con­tacts that will help me re­cruit play­ers for the club and Luke will al­ways be part of that process.”

Nev­er­the­less,Wil­liams will still be ac­tively in­volved in the re­cruit­ing process ac­cord­ing to Power.

“We will only bring those play­ers in if Luke wants them,” he added.

“We have ac­tu­ally had the most ridicu­lous con­ver­sa­tions over the last cou­ple of months where I have wanted to bring bod­ies in be­cause I was con­cerned about the po­si­tion we were in and Luke was say­ing he doesn’t need any.

“Nor­mally, the head coach says he needs them and the chair­man says ‘no, you’ve got enough’.”

SI­MON Grayson is not ready to throw the towel in on a pos­si­ble play-off push af­ter Pre­ston beat Bolton for the first time since 1992 – and plunged the Trot­ters deeper into trou­ble.

Se­cond-half goals from Jor­dan Hugill and Mar­nick Ver­mijl can­celled out Liam Trot­ter’s first-half opener and sub­jected Bolton, in their first game un­der new own­er­ship, to their 19th loss of the sea­son.

Pre­ston had not even scored a sin­gle goal against Bolton in 23 years and now Neil Len­non’s side stare up from the bot­tom of the Cham­pi­onship 11 points adrift of safety.

As far as Pre­ston’s am­bi­tion goes, a first win in four gives them hope and Grayson ad­mits it took a half-time rocket up the back­side to get them on track.

“There were a few choice words at half-time be­cause we have set a stan­dard and don’t want our sea­son just to peter out – we need to keep win­ning games and see where it takes us,” said Grayson.

“The team re­sponded in a re­ally pos­i­tive man­ner and we looked a far bet­ter team in the se­cond half with a change of for­ma­tion and de­sire.

“At times Bolton played some good foot­ball, but we were a lot bet­ter and looked a real threat.

“When you bring 4,500 to a ground like this you want to make sure that you put on a per­for­mance and get a good re­sult and we did that.”

Bolton were handed an early scare as a header from Hugill scraped Paul Rachubka’s cross­bar in the first minute.

The hosts then had a strong penalty claim in the ninth minute when Gary Ma­dine went down in the area, but those ap­peals were waved away by ref­eree Paul Tier­ney.

Bolton were handed their re­ward for a strong start mid­way through the half as Trot­ter stroked the ball into the cor­ner of the Pre­ston net from range.

The derby at­mos­phere came to a head as the half drew to a close, as a scuf­fle be­tween Dar­ren Prat­ley and Paul Gal­lagher saw them both earn book­ings.

Pre­ston squan­dered a chance to draw level early in the se­cond half, as a stretch­ing Gal­lagher failed to latch onto a whipped cross into the Bolton area.

A Liam Feeney cross from the right gave Ma­dine a good chance to ex­tend his side’s lead, but the striker’s div­ing header flew wide of the goal.

Pre­ston equalised just be­fore the hour mark, when a goal­mouth scram­ble ended with Hugill pok­ing the ball into the Bolton net for his first league goal of the sea­son.

The away side then broke Bolton hearts in the dy­ing stages when sub­sti­tute Ver­mijl latched onto the end of a goal­mouth scram­ble to poke the ball into the net.

It leaves Len­non count­ing down the days un­til Bolton’s trans­fer em­bargo is lifted, af­ter Sports Shield con­sor­tium’s takeover last week pulled the club back from the fi­nan­cial brink.

“I thought we played well in the first half and Pre­ston were good in the se­cond half, but we im­proved again when we changed the shape,” said Len­non.

“We missed good chances again to win the game and we got caught with a sucker punch late on which is dis­ap­point­ing.

“At times we lacked that bit of ex­pe­ri­ence – we need to learn how to man­age the game bet­ter.

“The sooner we can end this trans­fer em­bargo the bet­ter, the squad is very thin at the minute so we need to be able to bring play­ers in.”

PIC­TURES: Pete Burns/Pro Sport

HEY PRESTO: Jor­dan Hugill equalises for Pre­ston

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