Simon Grayson is more than happy with how the team is progressing ahead of Gentry Day on Saturday.
Speaking to PNE.Com at Springfields today, the gaffer was full of praise for his troops and in particular the qualities they are beginning to show defensively and offensively as the Lilywhites look to keep momentum going against Brentford on Saturday.
He said: “The clean sheets that we have kept are not down to just the back four, yes they have contributed but it’s the players in front of them that have worked hard with the shape of the team to ensure that we limit the opposition to as few opportunities as possible.
“When they have had to defend they have defended and when you look at the goals we have conceded they have just been two mistakes from our on players, so it is hard work from all of them as individuals and collectively as a team.”
When asked about the recent clean sheets his team have produced, the boss added: “It is a sign of progress and hopefully we can make it three at the weekend, cause clean sheets give you the opportunity to win games with what we have already got in midfield and the front department, so we have got to make sure we are hard to beat, but obviously not taken away any of our attacking influence as well.
“We are all actually playing very well, they are all contributing to what the team are doing and that’s from the strikers with their movement and the goals, the midfield players supplying them and the wide players and the defenders trying to keep clean sheets, so obviously we are delighted how it is going at this moment in time, but coming up against Brentford is going to be another real, tough test for us.
“Over the last few weeks we have played Swindon, Bournemouth, MK Dons and Brentford this weekend, they are all tough teams in that top group looking to get promoted.”
The Preston North End manager knows his Brentford counterpart well, after they spent time together as the gaffer gained his coaching badges, so Grayson is more than aware of how dangerous a side Brentford can be with Uwe Rosler at the helm , especially at Griffin Park, where a good old fashioned stadium awaits the manager and players alike.
Simon continued: “You know what they are capable of doing and where they have been for most of the season and they had a good result the other night against Swindon and the victory they are looking for against us could take them towards the top of the division, so we know it is going to be a tough game.
“Uwe has got a strong, powerful team and has got threats all over the pitch, but I think they will have one eye on what we have done recently and be aware of what the players we have got available in our team can cause them problems with, so we respect the opposition, whoever they are, whether they are top of the division or bottom of the division, but we will concentrate on what we need to do to get the result.
“I know Uwe quite well because when I went out to Norway to do some of my coaching badges, Uwe was in charge of a team I went to do a little bit of work at, so he is somebody I have spoken regularly with over the last couple of years, leant him a few players from Leeds and Huddersfield last year as well.
“I like Uwe, he has done really well but obviously that will go out the window come Saturday and we will have a drink after the game.
“I think he has got the experience of obviously playing over here, but then he goes over to Norway and coaches and it is a different sort of mind set and different type of game, but he has brought that over with him and you can see how well they are doing.
“Obviously they had a good cup run, just going out to Chelsea recently, so it’s a good club and they are looking to get promoted this year like a lot of other clubs are.
“The pitch is not going to be in the best state and it is one of the only grounds in the country were the supporters are able to stand up so it will be a good atmosphere with our following, because the supporters have been fantastic since we have been here, from the Swindon game to the four hundred that went to Notts County the other night and hopefully we can give them something to cheer about and get a result. “
The Lilywhites have several injury concerns ahead of the trip south, with Jack King and Bailey Wright struggling with a hip and angle injury respectively although Graham Cummins is back to full fitness after featuring from the bench at Meadow Lane on Tuesday.
“It will be touch and go,” said Grayson when asked about King’s availability.
“He got a nasty whack on his hip last Saturday, so we are working closely with him and the physio and if he is available then obviously that gives us another extra option and a big boost.
“Bailey is going to be touch and go, he has rocked it again like he did at MK Dons.
“We gave him a full week after that to try and get it sorted before we played the next game, obviously we have had a quick turnaround going from the Tuesday to the Saturday, so he is a doubt as one or two other players are going to be, but you know with Bailey that he will give his all to try and be fit because that’s what type of lad he is and what type of character he is.
“I have not seen too much of Graham Cummins to be fair, as when I came he was injured.
“He has trained over the last week or so with us, but based on what John [Dreyer]has said to us, he is a very hard working lad who will put himself about.
“He is decent in the air and based on his record in Ireland, he obviously knows where the back of the net is, so he has all them attributes which are good from my point of view.
“It will be about seeing him in first team action, whether that is just coming off the bench or starting a game, whenever that may be or even in the reserves, maybe if we organise a game for next week, so he has got good attributes and hopefully he is successful for us.”
The trip to Brentford has been named Gentry Day by the North End fans, an annual event which sees suits and bowler hats make an appearance amongst the Lilywhites faithful, an event which Simon is fully supportive of.
“I have been aware of it and what it is all about and it is a great idea,” said the gaffer.
“I will be turning up in my suit as I do every Saturday but I don’t think I’ll be having a bowler hat!
“But it just shows you what it is all about this football club.
“It is something which goes back to many years ago and I’m sure there will be a good turnout of them all.
“It is great that people have kept with that tradition and history.”
Tickets are still on sale for Gentry Day in Brentford, so get yours now to support Simon and the boys.
Advance Ticket Prices for the Brook Road stand are as follows (prices rise to matchday prices (in brackets) at 4pm the day prior to the match):
Adults £20 (£22)
Seniors (Over 60) £14 (£16)
Students (Full-time) £12
Juniors (U18) £5 (£5)
Adults £19 (£21)
Seniors (over 60) £13 (£15)
Students (Full-time) £11
Juniors (U18) £5 (£5)
No student tickets are available on matchday.
Disabled supporters contact Brentford directly.
PNE Travel coaches depart Deepdale at 9am, adults £28, concession £26.