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Confidence Growing

8 August 2013

Manager Simon Grayson believes his players are becoming more confident after a positive start to the 2013/14 season.

A solid point against Wolves was followed up by victory over Blackpool and the gaffer has seen the belief growing in the build-up to Saturday’s clash with Rotherham United.

Speaking to PNE.Com, Grayson said: “The players were confident going into the start of the season and the result against Wolves increased that.

“Obviously since the victory and the performance on Monday night, it has gone up a notch or two.

“The one thing we won’t do is get too carried away with the result, we have got a lot of hard work still to do to get to where we want to achieve this year, but I thought we played well the other night and showed some good quality, worked extremely hard, kept our organisation and discipline within the team and eventually got through.

“Obviously it has given our supporters a massive boost, they have got the bragging rights and we were delighted to have kept two cleansheets in the first two games of the season.

“We will build on the confidence that we have from the first two games without being too over confident.

“Players will have to remain focused on what we need to do, work on the things that we have worked on this morning and take them into the game on Saturday, the players should be respectful of the opposition but also concentrate on what we need to do.”

North End have two injury doubts going into the game, with Stuart Beavon on his way back from a pre-season knee injury and Iain Hume who picked up a groin injury on Monday night and both players appear to be touch and go as to whether they feature or not.

“He came off with a slight groin injury and will be assessed later this afternoon again and in the morning,” said Grayson when asked about Hume.

“If he is in any doubt, then we don’t play him, we don’t want to aggravate any injuries, but that’s not to say he won’t be available for selection.

“If he doesn’t play then we have got other players in the squad that are capable of putting on the shirt and getting a performance.

“Beav has trained with us this morning and we will see if there is any reaction to him.

“If there has been no reaction, then he could be considered part of the squad, but that is another one where we will just need to see where we go with it.”

The gaffer spent Tuesday night on a scouting mission to the New York Stadium – his first visit their ahead of North End’s first visit and it wasn’t just the stadium the manager came away from the game impressed with.

“I was at the game and they played very well and deservedly so went through,” continued Grayson.

“It was a cracking atmosphere and again that was a local derby, but they play a style of football which is difficult to cope with at times, so we know we have got to be on our metal if we are to get something there.

“I think we can take a lot of heart out of our two performances, both with and without the ball, but we will be tested in a different manner at the weekend which hopefully we will stand up to.

“It was a real good atmosphere, as I said it was a local derby so both sets of supporters were rocking.

“It’s a nice ground, good surface to play on and we know that we are going to have to deal with the atmosphere of a team that has been promoted and carrying the momentum forward from last year but also buoyed from what they done on Tuesday night.”

Simon also had praise for his Millers’ counterpart Steve Evans: “He has done very well, he has been at clubs and has been successful, getting a win the other night against Sheffield Wednesday was a big coup for them as well, so we know we are in for a tough game.

“As I said, if we thought the Blackpool game was going to be difficult and the Wolves game, then this is going to be twice as hard.

“They are at home, they have got the momentum going and they have got some real difficult players to deal with.

“They play to their strengths, they have got a big lad up front in Alex Revell who is a handful and they have signed [Matt] Tubbs on loan who is a busy little striker, the midfield players are scoring goals for them so they play to their strengths.”

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