Preston manager Darren Ferguson has backed striker Paul Hayes to get back to his best and become a vital player for the club this season.
The 27-year-old, the Lilywhites' first summer signing after he joined from Scunthorpe on a Bosman, started the first six games of the current campaign but has been dropped to the bench for the last seven matches as Ferguson changed the shape of the side with Jon Parkin playing as a lone forward supported by midfielders Adam Barton and Iain Hume.
He told the Lancashire Evening Post: "I've been pleased with Paul's contribution. He's probably lost a bit of confidence recently and I also know it has taken his family a bit of time to settle here, which may have had a bearing on his form. But Paul is going to be a big player for us, he will score goals and set them up."
With the new formation bearing fruit, it looks like it will be hard for Hayes to force himself back into the reckoning but Ferguson says the hard-working front-man is still at the forefront of his plans.
Ferguson added: "He started the season well, scored twice at Stockport and then the winner against Portsmouth here. I thought he did really well in the Portsmouth game playing up front with Josh King. Since then we have changed a little bit in terms of how we play.
"Jon Parkin has come in and done well up front, with Adam and Iain doing well playing off him. But Paul will play a lot of games for us this season, no doubt about that."
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