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Gaffer Pleased With Cleansheet Platform

10 August 2013

North End manager Simon Grayson was satisfied with another solid, battling performance following a second consecutive 0-0 league draw for the Lilywhites.

On their first ever visit to the New York Stadium, PNE earned their second point, in their second game, alongside their second cleansheet and the gaffer was pleased to end a difficult opening week to the season unbeaten.

Speaking to PNE.Com post-match, Grayson said: “The cleansheets give us a platform to build off; I think we are maybe just not quite firing as much as we would like to do in that final third and we’re not asking enough questions of the opposition but it is a platform to build off.

“I think pre-season is a lot about getting your shape and organisation and then the sharpness comes as the games go along, so I’m not worried about it because the goals and opportunities will come as more games go along.

“We are at least keeping cleansheets, we are hard to beat, because if we weren’t hard to beat and stand up to be counted, then today we would have got beat.

“It has been a tough week for us because obviously the Wolves game and then playing Monday and again today.

“We knew it was going to be a real tough game for us, they asked questions, a lot of balls into the box and you have to really match them.

“I thought we played some good stuff, passed it around well, hit the bar, the keeper made a couple of good saves, so I am pleased with it.

“If you don’t win a game then keeping a cleansheet and getting a point away from home is valuable and could prove valuable come the end of the season.

“We knew we were going to be tested this afternoon because of the personnel that they have got and how they play.

“We didn’t threaten enough in the final third; we got into some good positions and then probably made the wrong decisions.

“Lee Holmes has cut inside and should have shot and has dribbled a little bit too much, Bailey Wright has hit the bar, so it was just them final decisions that ultimately win you matches in the final third, but we are pleased with what we done because this isn’t going to be an easy place to come to.”

With Stuart Beavon and Iain Hume both injured for the visit to South Yorkshire, the gaffer went with Lee Holmes in the hole behind striker Kevin Davies and Grayson was pleased with the difficulty the PNE No.11 caused the Millers’ defence.

“He causes people problems because he is clever and gets into them holes and areas where the opposition don’t want to go,” continued Grayson.

“People don’t know who to pick up and we utilised that well, we found him well.

“First-half I thought we started the game really well and passed it around and created some half decent opportunities.

“It is a system I don’t mind playing, it’s not a system we will play all the time, but I felt today that the personnel we had out there could hurt the opposition.”

Despite only recording two points from the opening pair of League One fixtures, Grayson is more than happy with how the opening week of the season has unfolded and by the never say die attitude being shown on the pitch by his players.

He added: “I think we can be very pleased, we are unbeaten, three cleansheets, victory against our local rivals, we know things will get better but it is a platform to have.

“It is a great habit to have, people fighting on that pitch in terms of showing dedication and attitude not to get beat and having winners in the team and we have done that today.

“We still know we have got a bit of improvement to do but I certainly would have taken that at the start of the season because we have had three really tough games.”

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