Preston North End boss Ryan Lowe has praised Duane Holmes after his impact in the Carabao Cup defeat to Salford City.
PNE faced League Two side Salford City on Tuesday night, kicking off the Carabao Cup campaign – and, well, ending it in the process.
North End fell a goal down early on as Connor McLennan fired the visitors ahead at the second time of asking.
A terrible pass from debutant Jack Whatmough gifted McLennan his and Salford’s second, leaving PNE with a mountain to climb.
Duane Holmes set up Ben Woodburn to bring one back just before half-time, and Holmes got himself on the scoresheet just five minutes after the break.
Holmes showed great energy to steal possession on the edge of the Salford penalty area before slotting past Alex Cairns.
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North End pushed and pushed for a winner, ending 90 minutes with 25 shots on goal, but it just wasn’t to be.
The game went to penalties and with both Ryan Ledson and Mads Frøkjær-Jensen firing wide, Salford advanced into the second round.
Bowing out of the competition to League Two opposition was never going to delight supporters but there was at least a bright spark in Holmes.
The American midfielder arrived from Huddersfield Town earlier this summer in a double reunion at PNE.
Holmes played alongside Ryan Lowe at Bury back in 2014 and worked with assistant Mike Marsh at Huddersfield Town.
Holmes had an injury problem at the end of last season and PNE have had to bring him along slowly as a result.
The 28-year-old made a big impact against Salford though, registering an assist in a goal to show PNE fans what he’s all about.
Lowe has now moved to hail Holmes, telling iFollow that he loves what PNE’s new man can bring in on and off the ball.
Lowe added that Holmes still needs to get sharper but praised his experience, believing he knows exactly how to win games at Championship level.
“It is the player I want to see, yeah,” said Lowe. “He’s got that, he’s energy isn’t he? He’s busying around, he gets on the end of things, he can run with the ball, he can jump people and take the ball off them, as you’ve seen with his goal, he’s got an eye for a pass, he’s got an eye for a goal as well – you’ve seen some of the shots he had in the first half.”
“That’s what Duane brings you, he’s obviously got them qualities but he’s also an experienced player and knows the game and knows how to see games out and knows how to win games of football, so obviously, it was massively important we got him in. He still needs more minutes to get up to speed, because you could see towards the end he was tiring, but the quicker we get him up to speed, the better he is going to be for us,” he added.