Gaffer keen to build on home form
Manager Simon Grayson is urging his players to keep their recent impressive home form going as they look to turn Deepdale into a hostile environment for visiting teams.
After two back-to-back wins, North End go for three in a row in front of their own fans this Saturday with the gaffer eager to keep the momentum going.
“We want to try and build on what we have in the last two home games,” said Simon.
“We have had two victories, two clean sheets and four goals, so we want to build on the momentum.
“I have always said at every football club I have been at that you need to have your home form as good as possible, because the majority of fans are there watching you and paying their money and you can try and turn your home venue into a fortress and we want to do that.
“We had nine thousand fans for the Stevenage game, hopefully in the next couple of games we keep increasing and increasing because that means that the team are doing something right and the supporters are enjoying what we are doing.”
He continued: “I think that just comes with the name of the football club and the size of the football club you are at,” when asked about the awe factor of playing at a venue as impressive as Deepdale.
“No disrespect to some of the other clubs you go to but they are small grounds, they only hold probably seven or eight thousand and ours is obviously capable of holding a lot more so if people want to raise their game because of the venue they are coming to then so be it.
“We have to be able to deal with that and we will have to deal with it next year if we are in League One, to make sure we are the favourites at every game we turn up for and obviously teams are going to make it difficult for us to play against them because of the team you are putting together and the atmosphere in the surroundings that you are playing in, but that is something players have to deal with and hopefully we will do.”
John Welsh will be missing from the Lilywhites line-up this weekend, after being ruled out for at least week with Joel Byrom also missing out as he bids to regain full fitness after his hernia operation.
Scott Laird is now the only long term casualty.
There was better news for the young trio of Bailey Wright, Will Hayhurst and Declan Rudd however; the later returning from international duty to feature this Saturday.
“John Welsh has gone for a scan and he has got a bit of a problem with his Achilles, but it is not going to be anything major in terms of months of recovery, maybe a week, ten days or so, so he will miss the weekend’s game and hopefully he will be maybe be available for the Portsmouth game.
“We will have to wait and see but he has just nicked his Achilles tendon a little bit, so it could have been better news, but it could have been worse news, other than that everybody else is back fit except for Scott Laird.
“Joel Byrom is back in training after a hernia operation so he will need a week, ten days training before he can be considered for the first team, but it is nice to have as many players back as possible.
“Declan Rudd is back with us this morning.
“England have been very good and I spoke with Stuart Pearce and he said that if none of his goalkeepers were injured, then we will be able to have Declan back Thursday morning and that has been the case, so he has trained with us this morning and it is good to have him back because he has been playing really well for us.”
“Bailey Wright and Will Hayhurst joined in training today, so we will see if there is any reaction from today before we do anything tomorrow with the team, so it is nice to have these options available to us.”
As for the visitors, they have thrust themselves into Play-Off contention after an impressive six game undefeated streak, culminating in three straight wins as they look to make a late charge for the top six.
And the gaffer is preparing for a tough battle.
He said: “Leyton Orient have had a great week, three wins on the bounce takes some doing at any level and they have got some good experienced players, [Kevin] Lisbie, [Charlie] McDonald and other young players like [Dean] Cox, who can be a handful on their day, so we know we are in for a tough game.
“As I said, to win three games at any level takes some doing, hopefully they will hit a rut this weekend and we can get another victory but they have got a great chance on the back of them results.
“They are only three points off the Play-Offs and are playing with a lot of confidence, a lot of belief, but we will respect the opposition and they will be fearful of what we have done previously and what we can do.”
Despite suffering his first defeat since arriving at Preston, Grayson is in no mood to chastise his players and was pleased with everything about last Saturday, except the score line.
“You learn a lot from your players day in and day out, but when you lose a match and in adversity, you see the characters come through.
“I think Saturday was game were we lost the game but that was about all that was wrong with the game, we played some good stuff, were hard to beat and got done by a 94th minute penalty, so there isn’t too much to question the players on at the weekend.
“You really question players when you get turned over, three, four, five, nil, that’s when you really find your characters and hopefully we won’t be having to do that for a long, long time because they are doing ever so well at the moment but we still got a lot of improvement to get to where I want to get to with them.”
Matchday tickets are available now, with fans advised to get their tickets in advance where possible for the clash with Leyton Orient.
The ticket and retail store is open 9am to 5pm from Monday - Thursday and 9am until 6pm on Friday, with tickets again on sale on the day of the game from the Sir Tom Finney Stand ticket office from 9am.
You can also buy over the phone during those opening hours (lines shut 90 minutes before kick-off) on 0844 856 1966. You can also buy, without having to go through pages of registrations, online, with just a click, by visiting MYPNE.Com.