Preston North End could turn to Jermaine Beckford as an impact substitute when they seek to spring a League Cup upset at home to Watford on Tuesday.
A former Premier League player with Everton, Beckford famously scored Leeds United’s winner in an FA Cup third-round triumph over Manchester United in 2010.
And the striker may yet be tasked with delivering another knockout blow after returning from injury to make his first appearance of the campaign in Preston’s 2-1 Championship defeat to Ipswich Town at the weekend.
North End boss Simon Grayson told the Lancashire Evening Post: “Jermaine picked up a knee injury during the Motherwell game in pre-season.
“We had to be careful that we did not bring him back too early. It’s been disappointing that we have lost him for the period of time that we have.
“Twenty minutes on Saturday is a bonus and he certainly won’t be starting on Tuesday, but it’s a big boost to have him back.”
Saturday’s loss to Ipswich ended Preston’s unbeaten start to the season – which had seen them pick up five points from three matches on their return to the second tier – either side of a 3-1 League Cup first-round win at Crewe Alexandra.
Watford were also promoted last term and have begun life in the Premier League with three consecutive draws.
Sunday’s stalemate with Southampton represented a second goalless game in succession for Quique Sanchez Flores’ men, but winger Ikechi Anya took heart from the team’s defensive solidity.
“I think it was the other way around last year, everyone was very complimentary of our firepower and maybe it was our defence that was the weak link,” Anya told Hornets Player.
“But now we’ve sorted that out, and we know with the likes of Troy [Deeney] and [Odion] Ighalo that we’re going to get goals – it’s just a matter of time.
“As long as we’re keeping clean sheets we’re on the right path.”
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