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Simon Grayson Privileged By Experiences

20 February 2014

The Preston North End manager has admitted being proud to be in the role in the week the Club has celebrated the life of Sir Tom Finney.

Speaking at his press conference ahead of the long trip to Essex to face Colchester United, he admitted it had been a difficult week, but one he believed the players had coped with extremely well.

“I have been really pleased with them [the players] all season; even when we’ve had blips I haven’t been critical of them, because they are a very hard-working, honest bunch, who try to give their all in every situation,” he said. “Last Saturday was never going to be easy for the group, because it was emotional and then we had to turn straight round to Tuesday night, so I can’t fault the players in terms of what they have given us on the training pitch. 

“Everything we ask them to do, they do to the best of their abilities and hopefully they’ll continue to do that, which I am sure they will do.

“This is a Club that embraces people that have been iconic in the past. The stadium has stands named after three people, we have the statue and there are pictures all over the stadium and that is brilliant to have. I have been at clubs who have taken down pictures from their past as they want to live in the present, but this isn’t that sort of Club and hopefully the present and the future will be as successful. 

“The players can be galvanised and motivated by what people have achieved in the past.

“I said to my son this week, that I am privileged to be the Preston North End manager when Sir Tom has died. That might sound strange, but I am here to show respect and as the manager you have a responsibility to pass on all the tributes at this time.”

The team go to the Weston Homes Community Stadium looking to get three points after back-to-back draws, looking to put pressure on the top three, with Wolves facing Brentford on Saturday.

“There are lots of games to go,” continued the gaffer. “I have been pleased with how we’ve played; we have just been missing that cutting edge in the final third, where it matters. We have defended ever so well; our build up play has been good, we have just lacked a little bit of composure or ruthlessness to kill teams off, but you can’t fault the players. 

“With the chances we have been creating, someone is going to suffer somewhere down the line and hopefully that’s very soon.

“I remember the reverse game really clearly. We absolutely battered them, must have had over 20 chances and they were hanging on for dear life. But they stayed in the game and that’s what you have to do sometimes when you are under pressure and they nicked one with 15 minutes to go.

“It has probably been the story of a number of our games this season, we’ve created a lot of chances, missed some opportunities throughout the team. That’s part and parcel of football and somewhere over the next few weeks we want to turn those draws into wins.”

As the season enters its final third the PNE chief was asked whether a gung-ho attitude to earn wins was what’s needed: “I set out every game to go and win it. We make changes to try and win games. My philosophy is to try and win games, but this year we have been very solid defensively and I am sure we have the firepower in the squad who will take the chances that we create.

“It can be a difficult decision who to pick from the options we have up front. 

“Successful teams have always had a lot of good strikers and coming into the last 15 games where we are playing Saturday-Tuesday and teams are maybe getting physically and mentally tired, I don’t think we have that, we are looking strong in all our games and we have the opportunity to change it round and freshen it up when we need to,” he added.

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