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Gaffer: Good 90 Minute Workout

26 July 2013

North End manager Simon Grayson was pleased to see so many of his players get a full 90 minutes under their belts in victory at Hartlepool.

The Lilywhites’ pre-season continued on a glorious night in the North East of England as they sealed a win in a match decided by two penalties.

In the first-half Joe Garner blasted the ball home from the spot after Graham Cummins was hauled to the ground and after the break Jeffrey Monakana was adjudged to have tripped Jack Compton, but Thorsten Stuckmann thwarted the winner of the spot kick with a diving save to his left.

But the gaffer’s main aim of the evening was to get his players match fit for Wolves a week on Saturday and he was satisfied that they achieved that goal.

Speaking to PNE.Com at full-time, Grayson said: “I think it was a good workout for us, a lot of players got 90 minutes under their belt.

“I thought first-half we did ok, second-half we changed the system and played three centre halves just to look at something different.

“That is how they were playing but it also gave me the opportunity to play with it.

“I thought one or two of the lads were ok in it, I thought one or two were a little confused by it, but I just thought at the start of the second-half we were a little bit sloppy, we gave the ball away a little too cheaply but we got in some good positions and made a five or ten yard pass more difficult than it should’ve been really.

“We said all along it was about a fitness exercises, one or two players done ok, one or two players know they can probably do a little bit better.

“I am not sure if theirs was a penalty but I think ours was that’s for sure, but a good save by Stucki [Thorsten Stuckmann].

“He has done what he has had to do so it was nice to win a game, but I said all along it’s not about results, it’s about players getting 90 minutes, you see Scott Laird get 90 minutes tonight which is going to be a big boost for him because he has worked hard to get back to where he is and a lot of other players who have played 90 minutes will get a big benefit from that.

“Don’t get me wrong, I’d rather win all our pre-season games than lose them, we kept a cleansheet but I know there are still things we need to work on but I think tonight was more about players getting 90 minutes under their belt.

“If I wanted I could have just kept it to a 4-4-2 but I wanted to see something a little bit different with different personnel as well.”

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