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Simon Grayson Looking For Momentum

30 January 2014

The North End manager is hoping that a result at the weekend can start a chain reaction of wins that can close the gap on the top three in League One.

Ahead of a Trent double-header over the next week, the PNE boss feels that momentum will be key over an intense period of games in the next two months.

“Those two draws were games we could have got six points from,” he said commenting on the back to back league stalemates. “I’ve been please how we’ve played. We’ve looked very solid at the back, not conceding many chances and we have also looked a threat.

“The teams above us have been doing what they are capable of and full credit to them; you can’t affect what they are doing. They are churning results out and we just have to make sure we don’t lose matches and we hang onto their coat tails and if they slip up, then we have an opportunity.

“If you get a run of three or four wins and they drop points it becomes all to play for again. We just have to try and get a result at the weekend and if we can get some momentum - especially when we play Saturday-Tuesday for the next couple of months – then we can really claw back some points.”

Saturday’s opponents have had a positive improvement under new boss and self-professed Magpies fan Shaun Derry, lifting themselves clear of the bottom four and Grayson believes they have a side that will test his team.

“Shaun has gone in there and got a quick reaction from the players and done very well,” continued the gaffer.” Against Peterborough, in their last away game, they were two up in ten minutes and were outstanding, but then they unfortunately had a man sent off and lost the game.

“They have some threats and will be looking to bounce back after a disappointing result last weekend against Walsall. We are under no illusions as to the test they will provide for us. 

“We have to be prepared physically and mentally. We have turned the players round quickly from Tuesday night and we know what to expect. We have to concentrate on what we need to do and be good enough on the day.

“Shaun’s had a fantastic career and was a determined player. He will want more grit and determination after last Saturday’s result and when a team has suffered  a heavy defeat, you are always looking for a reaction as a manager and that’s what he’ll be doing.

“We will give them the respect they are due. They have some talented players. Grealish on loan from Villa and McGregor from Celtic are match winners on the day; we have to try and keep them quiet and impose our own game on the match.”

Going into the game both Neil Kilkenny (first of three games) and Kevin Davies (last match) are ruled out of contention due to suspension, but otherwise the manager has a full squad to choose from.

“We will assess everyone after Tuesday night. It was a tough game and a heavy pitch and we played for 70 minutes with ten  men, so it will have been demanding for the players.

“We will assess them all, recover and try and pick the strongest team possible to go and win the game at the weekend. We have a number of options available to us, depending on the formation we want to go with,” he added.

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