Preston still a force without Nugent

Preston may have lost star striker David Nugent, but City manager Peter Grant believes they still have enough attacking power to make up for their £6m man.


Preston may have lost star striker David Nugent, but City manager Peter Grant believes they still have enough attacking power to make up for their £6m man.

The Lilywhites, who are without the injured Patrick Agyemang, are expected to choose from new signing Karl Hawley, Neil Mellor and Brett Ormerod up front this afternoon.

“They have a good mixture,” said Grant. “Preston are a team who for many, many years have known what they are supposed to do, they know their jobs, they have had a solidity around their group for a long period of time now.

“Yes, they will pick up injuries, yes, they have lost Nugent, but they have not had as much of a changeover as most other teams and you always see the benefit of that. That is why they have consistently been in that top 10, top seven for the last two years - because not much of the personnel has changed.

“Paul (Simpson) is going into his second full season as manager and he will understand the players now. He has bought in Hawley as well and he has still an abundance of strikers that can do the business. People say he is short but there are four strikers there who have scored goals up and down the divisions.

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“We know it is a tough call going to Preston at any time, there is no getting away from that.

“Last year I thought we played very well up there, we lost the game 2-1 but I thought the general performance was excellent in difficult circumstances. We lost Dion Dublin early on, then we lost Peter Thorne and we had to change it again.

“We lost players before the game in Huckerby, Etuhu and Safri, so we are used to going into this game without a full complement of players - let's just hope we can get a better result this time.”

The sale of Nugent has not improved the mood among Preston fans, who saw their team slip out of play-off contention at the end of last season, but Simpson is unhappy at the pessimism around the camp.

“I get the feeling there is a lot of doom and gloom about,” he said. “Did everyone forget that we finished seventh last year?

“So what we have got to do inside the football club is put in performances that encourage them to come out in their numbers more than they did last year.

“We were up in the top places for most of the season and we still couldn't fill 19,000 seats.”

Simpson says the summer has eased the disappointment at missing out on a top-six place.

“I was annoyed for a while afterwards,” he said. “But that's all gone now.

“Everything is geared towards concentrating on Saturday's game and the new season ahead. We have made changes to the squad, there have been a lot of outgoings. But obviously I would like to strengthen further if I can and that is what I am working hard on at the moment.”

Simpson added to his summer signings on Thursday buy signing reported Norwich target Darren Carter from West Brom for a fee that could rise to £1.25m.

“He is a big physical unit, over six foot, a good athlete with a fantastic left foot,” said Simpson. “He is a goal scoring midfielder, who can get up and down and I think he'll be a fantastic addition to the squad.”