Q&A With Preston North End

  • October 30, 2015 | By Chris Mann
  • URL Short URL: http://b-ac.es/aba9c

Steve Ward answers our questions ahead of the 141st meeting between Preston North End and Bolton at Deepdale.

Wanderers go into the game on the back of a 1-1 draw against Leeds United last time out, while North End held league leaders Brighton & Hove Albion to a goalless draw at the AMEX Stadium on the same afternoon.

In our latest edition of Q&A, Steve (@WardyPne) shares his views on Joe Garner's struggles in adapting to Championship football, doubts over Simon Grayson's ability to manage at the same level, as well as why a lack of finances shouldn't make Neil Lennon immune to criticism at Macron Stadium.

Q: Joe Garner struck 27 times as Preston were promoted last season, but is yet to find the net in 12 outings this campaign and recently missed a month of action through suspension. Is he getting close to finding his feet in the Championship, or is League One more his level?

A: I think Joe is close to finding his feet. He has been unlucky in many games and frustration has got the best of him so far this season. I fully believe that, once he gets a goal, he will be up and firing.

Losing Jermaine Beckford hasn't helped either, as them two were prolific together last season.

Q: With Garner yet to find his shooting boots and former Wanderers forward Jermaine Beckford sidelined through injury, Daniel Johnson and Paul Gallagher have had to take responsibility from midfield. Do you think North End have enough goals in their squad to keep them clear of danger this season?

A: The most worrying fact so far is that not one of our strikers has scored a league goal this season.

Jermaine Beckford's injury was a massive blow and Joe Garner has yet to find the net - in fact, he's recently spent more time suspended than on the pitch.

Manchester United loanee Will Keane has been a disappointment so far and our biggest fee-signing in many years, Stevie May, has yet to find his feet with us.

Jordan Hugill has looked promising, as has Eion Doyle on loan from Cardiff City, so we have plenty of options and I'm sure the forwards will start to contribute in the near future with goals.

Johnson has been a revelation since signing from Aston Villa last season and our form has improved since Gallagher returned from injury.

Q: Since moving into management, Simon Grayson has guided all four of his clubs out of League One but question marks have always surrounded his ability to be a success in the Championship? How far do you think he is capable of taking you?

A: Honestly, as long as we're outside the relegation zone this season I'm happy. I know the owner has said he wants to be mid-table this season and then push on towards the top next season.

I'm hopeful that Simon can fulfill that task. We all know his record in this league isn't the best and a minority of our support were getting vocal about his ability before our recent little upturn in form, but he has done a great job for us so far and I hope he continues to do so.

Q: Switching to Bolton boss, Neil Lennon. He recently celebrated 50 games in charge at Macron Stadium but has struggled to build on a promising start, with the club now bottom of the division. What do you make of the job he has done and is he really worth the hype?

A: The job he did at Celtic, especially in Europe, was impressive, but for some reason he hasn't really improved the side or the club's fortunes since he arrived at Bolton.

I know his hands are tied as he hasn't got a lot of money to spend, but with the squad he has at his peril he should have you further up the table.

Q: It's been 14 years since the two clubs last met. Ahead of the latest meeting, which member of the current Wanderers squad do you see as the biggest threat to your hopes of a home win?

A: The first game since the play-off final and a local derby, which will make a nice change.

As for the dangermen - Shola Ameobi is a good signing and he can prove to be a big threat, as can the likes of Emile Heskey, Gary Madine, Wellington Silva, Mark Davies, Darren Pratley and Liam Feeney.

Zach Clough seems a fantastic young talent but he's out injured which is a big loss to the team.

The names I've said above just shows what a good squad you have on paper.

Q: Finally, what is your score prediction for Saturday's game?

A: I'm predicting a close game, but I think we might snatch it - 2-1.

Burnden Aces would like to thank Steve for taking the time to answer our questions. You can read more from him on Twitter - @WardyPne.

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
6 Cambridge United 3 6
7 Derby County 3 6
8 Bolton Wanderers 3 5
9 Portsmouth 3 5
10 Accrington Stanley 3 5
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