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Gaffer Has Wry Smile After Wroe Goal

6 April 2013

Manager Simon Grayson admitted he had giving Nicky Wroe a verbal bashing after missing from the half way line at Notts County.

So when the midfield man popped up with a near 50 yard strike to give North End a two goal cushion at Deepdale, he was not surprised the ten-goal midfield man had a glance in his direction in celebration!

The PNE No.8 became the first North End central midfielder since Simon Davey in 1996 to get into double figures for a season with his tenth goal of the campaign as North End comfortably overcame Brian Laws’ Scunthorpe United at Deepdale.

And after the game, the North End gaffer was delighted with the comfort-bringing long distance strike and the overall performance.

Speaking to the press he said: “He had a similar chance at Notts County when we had a three on one situation and he tried to score from the half way line and I berated him after the game, so he did glance over to me when he did score! 

“Full credit to him for having a go at it and it did give us that bit of comfort that we could go and express ourselves that little bit more.

“A win and three goals, that have been coming for the last few weeks, and it could have been more at the back end of the game and we kept a clean sheet, so I am delighted.

“At 1-0 it is still a bit edgy at times, but it was a great finish from Nicky for the second and from then on we were comfortable. 

“Whatever Scunthorpe through at us, the back four did everything that they needed to do and I didn’t think we were in any real danger, but you have to kill teams off and we kept grinding away and did that.

“There wasn’t much in it in the first half and we couldn’t really get a firm grip of it on a lively pitch – we were comfortable without really forcing the issue of trying to get the first goal.

“It was a good move and a good finish by Lee Holmes to give us the lead, but the second goal was a big goal for us, it just killed the game off and I am delighted Jack got a goal as well.”

The manager was also pleased with the affect his substitutes had on the game, although the loss of two important players through injury did give a sour note to a convincing display.

“I thought the players that came on affected the game,” he continued. “Jeffrey was as lively as we have seen him since we’ve been here  and he has to do that on a regular basis. We want the strikers to score goals and we got Jack on the scoresheet as well, so that was good.

“It was a good ball from Jeffrey and it said to Jack ‘go and head it’ and he headed it back where it came from and that will do him the world of good.

“Lee [Holmes] tweaked his hamstring just before half-time, so that was a disappointment as we had to shuffle the shape of the team around a little bit and then we brought Keith Keane off towards the end because he has been struggling late in games with a hernia and that’s why he came off. He will probably go in for an operation sooner rather than later now.

“We wanted to get him through the games, because you saw him today – regardless of the armband – he lead by example and was rightly man of the match. He worked hard, broke things up kept it simple, but we’ll now discuss over the next couple of games when he goes in for an operation.

“We have a quick turnaround, so we can still get another game or so out of him; it only tightens up on him towards the back end of games. He felt it at the back end of Crewe and again today, so we took him off, but we have plenty of options if he’s struggling.”

Looking ahead to Tuesday’s visit by Oldham the manager is now targeting another three points so that the Club can really look towards the 2013/14 season without any worries.

“We aren’t mathematically safe, but we have given ourselves a good opportunity today. 

“As I said before the game, if we can get back-to-back victories today and against Oldham on Tuesday night then that will secure our position regardless of what other teams do around us,” he added.

A fourth clean sheet in the last five home games also pleased Grayson: “Bailey Wright and Paul Huntington have developed a good partnership, both on the pitch and on the training pitch as well. 

“After training they have gone off to work on things together, working on heading and clearances and it is fantastic that they are still hungry to learn and develop their relationship. They have dealt with everything that has been thrown at them over the past few weeks and I have been really impressed by the pair of them. 

“The same can be said for the lads alongside them; Conns and David Buchanan, who can be an unsung hero at times. 

“I am delighted the back four and goalkeeper are keeping clean sheets, but they will be first to admit that the lads in front of them are helping them out with their work rate and attitude as well.”

Finally, speaking about the arrival of former North End custodian Alan Kelly to work with the goalkeepers, he said: “I know Alan from our time together at Blackburn and we have remained good friends. 

“I decided it was a position I wanted to change round and there is probably nobody better to come back to this football club and help me out.

“He will do it to the end of the season and we will see what he thinks about the situation. He is still the Republic of Ireland goalkeeping coach, but he was delighted when I rang him and I am pleased that someone of his experience and vast knowledge will join us and help us out in that area.”

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