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Club News

Start As We Mean To Go On

30 December 2013

Manager Simon Grayson wants his side to bring some new year’s cheer to Deepdale on Wednesday as the Lilywhites start 2014 with a home game against Port Vale.

North End face the Valiants for the second time in five weeks, looking to build upon back-to-back away 1-0 wins in the past week.

The gaffer spoke to the official website to look forward to taking on Micky Adams’ Play-Off challengers and though the game was shaping up to be a tasty one to bring in the start of the second half of the season.

“It’s got the ingredients of a good game,” he said. “Port Vale are on a good run at this moment in time and we want to build off the back of two excellent away wins we have had over Christmas and start the new year in a real positive manner. 

“We have given ourselves a platform to go from and we want to start the new year in a bright year and hopefully win another football match and try and get three points again.

“It’s only a few weeks since we played them and it is a game that will be etched in everybody’s memories because of what happened on the night: winning the game, Joe Garner scoring twice when he should have been sent off, Neil Kilkenny being sent off when he shouldn’t have and then the unsuccessful appeal afterwards. 

“It was a good night for us, a good team performance and hopefully we can replicate that on New Year’s Day.

“They are full of confidence and are in good form at this moment in time. They got a good result on Sunday, building on the success they had in the previous season.

“They have some threats; some players that can win matches for them, so they will bring a good following and it will be a really competitive game.”

In terms of his own options, the PNE chief only has one player he can’t call upon, Paul Huntington picking up his fifth caution of the season in Sunday’s win at Shrewsbury.

“It is disappointing to lose Hunts because he has done well since he came back into the team,” continued the manager. “The one lucky aspect is that Tom Clarke was also on a knife’s edge as well and we didn’t lose both of them. 

“That was one of the reason’s Jack King was left out as well, because we didn’t want a recurrence of his foot problem. 

“Whoever plays, it is an opportunity and when they come in, they have to take those chances. Any success we have this year will be as a team and as a squad.”

This is the third of four games in ten days for the Lilywhites and the manager is hoping that the momentum of the previous two results continues.

“It’s like groundhog day at the moment: play – recovery day – preparation – play and then repeat. 

“It’s a tough task, but it is up to me to pick the right team and the right squad to try and get results; whether that means keeping the same team, changing the team, changing the shape – I have to try and decide what is best for the group and try and win the matches,” he added.

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