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Simon Grayson Praises Squad

29 December 2013

Preston North End boss Simon Grayson was full of praise for his entire squad following victory over Shrewsbury Town at Greenhous Meadow.

All three of the gaffer’s substitutes came off the bench to have an impact on the match, with one of those players, Iain Hume, delivering the ball across goal which resulted in Ryan Woods steering it into his own net to give the Lilywhites the win.

And Grayson was delighted to see his squad playing for each other in PNE’s latest away win.

“I think the success that you get is based on what you have got as a squad and what you can bring on to affect a game when it is not going your way,” said the manager.

“When you look at our bench today; Hume, Beavon, Holmes and Gallagher, are all attack minded players who you can bring on at any time and are good enough to get into most League One teams, if not Championship teams.

“So we have got the bonus of doing that, we have got a good squad, a camaraderie about the group, that when we win games we are all in it together and we have got good players who are not even in the 18 as well today through injury or just leaving them out.

“We have got something going and long may it continue.

“Iain Hume gives you the class that he has got and his work rate and many other attributes and so has Paul Gallagher and Lee Holmes affected the game today.

“It’s not just about what Iain Hume can particularly do and when players come off the bench, they have got to make sure they go and affect the game and that’s happened today.

“We have mentioned about it being a squad game and the players have to come on the pitch and affect it and that is what’s happened today.”

In terms of the game, Grayson was less than impressed with the first half display from his team, but a rallying call at the break seen a much more vibrant North End take to the field for the second half and they were rewarded with a goal ten minutes from time in front of a sell-out travelling support who were elated with the result.

Discussing the match as a whole, Grayson told the press: “We have said many times already this season that you have to do whatever it takes to go and win a football match, first half we weren’t good enough, we were second best when we had possession of the ball and when we didn’t have possession of the ball.

“We knew we had to up it quite a bit, we got back into the game and got a bit of pressure going and we have got the firepower to bring off the bench to try and change it round at any particular time and that was a big factor in the end result for us.

“We had to make sure that we got closer to them and stopped them playing and then when we got the ball, we had to utilise that extra man in midfield.

“We had to be quicker with it, move it around quicker, get on the front foot and basically make sure that we were not giving them the opportunity to dictate the game like they were first half.

“Full credit to the players, they responded to what we asked them to do and we saw the game out the last five minutes or so in a very professional manner.”

Some PNE fans would have been surprised to see the name of Paul Gallagher amongst that of the substitutes and Jack King was left out altogether.

Decisions which the manager explained following the full-time whistle.

“Gally hasn’t played a lot of football and just playing two games so close might have affected him with a bit of fatigue,” stated Grayson.

“He was always going to get some part in the game today, but we felt starting him off might have led to an injury possibly.

“You make decisions to try and freshen it up and today we brought back Kevin Davies and Joe Garner who affected the game, but then Gally got a decent amount of time on the pitch and is now probably going to be available for Wednesday.

“With Jack King, we have got to manage his foot injury, so again, he wasn’t involved in that respect, but the extra couple of day’s recovery will probably allow him to be back in contention for Wednesday now.”

North End’s latest away win makes it eight undefeated on the road, seven of those matches resulting in away wins.

And the Lilywhites have also now kept 11 cleansheets in the league, a stat the manager puts down to team spirit and attitude.

He continued: “There is certainly a desire to not be beaten, putting bodies on the line, you have seen the strikers filling in and coming back, the midfield working extremely hard and it is a fantastic attitude to have to keep cleansheets because we always know that we are going to get chances in the game because of the players that we have got, the players we can bring off the bench and affect it and that has been the case today.”

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