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Club News

Simon Grayson: We Won’t Sit Back

28 February 2014

Manager Simon Grayson has admitted his frustration at suggestions his team sit back when they have a lead.

The Lilywhites manager spoke to PNE Player ahead of the visit of Dean Smith’s Walsall and said that his team will be looking to win every game.

“First and foremost we try to get the next goal,” he told the Club’s online TV channel. “On Tuesday we took Gally off because he was struggling with a bit of tiredness and put Josh on who has a freshness and looked like he was going to score a goal at any time. 

“We then took Scott Wiseman off because he was injured and put Jack King on, who is a great replacement, so we didn’t just put on players to hold out.

“It does surprise me people say we’ve become defensive at the back end of the game, but you should at some time give the opposition credit. If they are throwing six players up front, should we just leave a back four there and go six versus four? Of course not, you have to bring players back and it becomes difficult to get out easily. 

“If the boot was on the other foot and we were going for the game, I would have three or five players up front as well, going for the game, getting it up there and hopefully you get a bit of a break. 

“The last goal on Tuesday night was a really soft, unfortunate goal. Believe me, we don’t ask our players to sit back and it does frustrate me when I hear people saying that about my teams.”

Speaking less than 24 hours after he was one of six to carry Sir Tom Finney’s coffin into Preston Minster for the Preston legend’s send off Simon admitted there was plenty of extra incentive given to him and the team by the proceedings.

“Yesterday was a fantastic day; it was a sad day, but one that will live long in the memories of many people,” he continued. “It just showed what Sir Tom Finney was all about. It was a very special day and we were all privileged and honoured to be there. It was a great send off for him from the football club and the city of Preston and our attention now turns back to the football side.

“It was a disappointing result, but a good result on Tuesday night – if that makes any sense –having been 2-0 down. 

“We go again and it is a another tough game for us against Walsall and hopefully we can get three points to keep the unbeaten run going that we have at this moment in time and to keep in touching distance of the teams above us.

“We came back to the training ground after the service on Thursday and we had a five minute chat. I said to the players that if they needed any more motivation from now until the end of the season to go and achieve something, then yesterday was a fine example of what this football club and this city all about and to give it their best shot. If we fall short in any respect, it won’t be through a lack of trying.

“We are hopeful that in the next run of games we have that we might get the breaks. Hopefully Sir Tom is looking down on us and instead of hitting the post the ball might have a bit of a guiding left or right foot to help us win a match or two!”

North End picked up their first league win of the season down at the Banks’s Stadium back in August and whilst that will have no bearing on Saturday afternoon the manager hoping for a similar level of performance.

“We went down to Walsall and got a great result, but that counts for nothing. 

“They are a different team and we are too. That was a good performance, but this is a different type of game to Tuesday night. 

“They have some good footballers, some threats, like to play out from the back and on the day they can cause teams problems. They are in the shake up for the Play-Offs and will be up for the game and giving themselves that opportunity between now and the end of the season, so it will be a tough game for us. 

“Hopefully we can implement what we did after the first ten minutes on Tuesday when we passed it better, got closer to people and hopefully we can produce a performance and get a good result.”

And he is hopeful of having a fully fit squad to choose from and will give his skipper as long as possible to be ready, having missed Tuesday’s six-goal thriller.

“John’s got a bit of bone bruising on his knee, so he will be a doubt again for the weekend, but it won’t be anything serious that is going to keep him out for long. 

“Everyone else is available and we showed the other night that there are opportunities for people to come into the team and do well and we also left people out of the 18 and that’s how we have to do it until the end of the season. 

“People will be disappointed, but we will keep freshening things up. 

“Some have had a run of games that is quite exhausting, so we will see how the players are and try and pick a team that is going to go and win the game,” he added.

Watch more from Simon as he sets Joe Garner a target of reaching 30 goals for the season and talks about the form of Chris Humphrey in out extended PNE Player interview – click here now to watch.

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