Strikers yet to shine for Preston boss Brown

Phil Brown says he has endured a frustrating time with his goal-scorers since taking over at Preston.

Brown brings his team to Carrow Road tomorrow searching for his first win he was appointed two months and 10 games ago – and is looking for his front men to start firing.

Since he arrived at Deepdale, only two of them have hit the back or the net. His opposite number, Paul Lambert, has seen only Grant Holt, of his front men, score since early December, but others are ensuring the goals haven't dried up. In the last 10 league games City have scored 14 goals, while Preston have managed just nine, leaving them bottom of the Championship, 11 points adrift of the final safe place.

Iain Hume scored in Brown's second game, a 1-1 home draw with Leicester, while Leon Clarke was on target at Watford last month.

Hume and full-back Billy Jones are the top marksmen among the current squad, with five each, although Brown insists there are mitigating factors – loan strikers Clarke, Eddie Johnson and Nathan Ellington arrived short of match fitness, Hume and Chris Brown have been out with injury, while Paul Hayes hasn't settled at the club since joining last summer.

'Admittedly, it has been difficult for the strikers,' said Brown. 'Nathan Ellington came on loan from Watford having been away in Greece. He hadn't played as many games as he wanted, and we needed to get him up to speed in terms of match fitness.

'Nathan proved himself in a 10-day trail, finished off with two goals in a reserve game at Chorley, earning a deal until the end of the season.Eddie Johnson hadn't featured on a regular basis with Fulham, and unfortunately again, lacked match fitness. Leon Clarke was in a similar position having not made many starts at Queens Park Rangers.

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'That is the deal, unfortunately that is the situation we are in.

'Paul Hayes hasn't played that many games, Iain Hume found himself with a hamstring strain for a couple of weeks. Chris Brown has only been available for maybe 15 minutes of the seven weeks I have been here. That has been frustrating to say the least.'

Hume and Brown were both on target for the reserves in a 4-2 victory over Wrexham at Deepdale on Wednesday – and both were substituted after an hour with an eye on tomorrow's clash.