Peterborough 2-0 Preston North End: Graham Westley and Simon Grayson reaction
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 09/01/16 7:38pm
Graham Westley was impressed by Conor Washington's temperament after the in-demand striker ended Peterborough's eight-year wait for a place in the FA Cup fourth round.
The 23-year-old helped Posh wrap up a 2-0 win against second-tier Preston with his 13th goal in 14 matches - a run of form which has led chairman Darragh MacAnthony to turn down three bids from Championship clubs.
Further offers are expected this month for a player who only enhanced his reputation with a fine header from Michael's Smith right-wing cross seven minutes into the second half.
Washington's goal helped Westley beat the club he managed for 13 months as loan ace Martin Samuelsen had earlier scored a sixth-minute opener when blasting past Preston debutant Chris Kirkland.
"Conor has to decide whether he accepts a move to the Championship or waits for Premier League clubs to come in," Westley said.
"He is such a high-quality player with such a good goalscoring record that he might let himself down in going to the Championship.
"Transfer speculation is always a great test of a player's character. We saw Conor deal with it by producing an exceptional performance, putting his body on the line and scoring a goal.
"We are not a club that stands in the way of a player, but we don't just give them away either. There is interest in a lot of our players and I'm sure there will be some serious offers on the table.
"We did the job we set to do and there's no extra satisfaction at all in beating a former club. I just love winning football matches and love making progress in a special competition."
Preston manager Simon Grayson was frustrated by his side's early exit after seeing a number of chances spurned.
Eoin Doyle fluffed two good opportunities in the first half before being denied by Posh keeper Ben Alnwick seconds after the hosts had doubled their lead. Tom Clarke also saw a header cleared off the line as North End bowed out.
"This is a competition we wanted to progress in," Grayson said. "We wanted to keep the momentum going from the results we've had recently, but we were inconsistent.
"Players were up and down with their quality and we could probably still be there tonight yet not scored a goal.
"We had opportunities, but we still looked lacking in that real belief and confidence to execute that final pass, the final ball into the box or the final shot.
"We knew that Peterborough would play high-risk football and pop it around. We had a system that we were comfortable with playing, but we knew we would be able to get chances on the counter-attack.
"We had two big chances in the first half but we didn't take them and they were big moments in the game."