Beckford revels in hat-trick

Date published: Monday 25th May 2015 2:18

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The 31-year-old striker took centre stage with a sparkling treble as Preston beat Swindon 4-0 to clinch promotion to the Sky Bet Championship on Sunday.

Beckford, who scored six of North End’s eight goals over the three play-off matches, said: “It’s amazing, one of those things you can’t imagine happening. You dream about it but how often do dreams come true?

“We expected a victory, but by a four-goal margin and me scoring a hat-trick? No.

“Swindon are a very good side who keep possession really well but we were the better side, not only because of the goals but because of the application we put in.

“We knew it was going to be a very difficult game and it just goes to show the character we’ve got in the team. We did a fantastic job of exploiting the spaces and we came out on top.”

Beckford is on loan at Preston from Bolton and will be a free agent at the end of the month.

Manager Simon Grayson is understandably desperate to keep hold of the former Leeds and Everton frontman, and the respect is clearly mutual.

“He made me a happy person. I owe him a lot,” added Beckford. “We seem to have a fantastic relationship and it just seems to work.”

Grayson hopes winning promotion – and breaking Preston’s play-off hoodoo at the 10th time of asking in the process – will strengthen their hand when it comes to securing Beckford’s signature.

“It makes the job easier,” Grayson said. “I have spoken to Jermaine over the last few weeks, talking about him being unemployed in a couple of weeks.

“This win allows us to compete financially to keep him. The one thing about Jermaine is that he enjoys playing for myself and (assistant) Glynn Snodin.

“Money isn’t his motivation – yes it helps – but when he is happy you get the best out of him. We have a special relationship.”

Paul Huntington hit Preston’s other goal while Swindon’s best chance fell to Michael Smith, who could have pulled the score back to 2-1 but planted his header wide.

Town manager Mark Cooper faces another summer rebuilding job but said: “I’m looking forward to it. It will be the same as last year, we’ll try to play the Swindon way and entertain.

“No one gave us a chance at the start of the season. We had one of the smallest budgets and one of the youngest squads, so we’ve had a brilliant season.”

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