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Simon Grayson: ‘Worthy Of Draw’

24 January 2014

Simon Grayson said that his players deserved at least a draw, after another spirited performance to earn a FA Cup fourth round replay against Nottm Forest

PNE matched their Championship opponents every step of the way at the City Ground and created the better chances after the break on a rain soaked evening in Nottingham.

And the gaffer believes that his players more than earned another crack at Billy Davies’ men at Deepdale.

Speaking after the match Grayson said: “I think a replay is the very least we deserved tonight.

“I think we were coming here knowing we were the underdogs against a strong, powerful, Championship team who turned West Ham over in the previous round.

“We knew we had to be hard to beat, had a game plan, but we were worthy of at least a replay.

“I think the only chance that Declan Rudd’s had to save all night was probably the first ten, 15 minutes and then after that we have worked their ‘keeper at least half a dozen time, so I think we were certainly worthy of at least a draw tonight.

“You always know that in the FA Cup there is going to be an underdog and a giant killing and tonight, that would have been.

“We are in League One and they are in the Championship Play-Off positions, so we can be very proud of how we played and how the players have worked, how we competed, but I think Nottingham Forest showed us a lot of respect tonight.

“I think that is probably the strongest team they could have put out, they changed their system to try and break us down and every man of mine certainly worked hard for the shirt and did what they needed to do to be in the hat for the next round.”

In the spells of the match were Forest dominated possession, the Lilywhites defended resolutely with a tremendous work ethic, organisational sense and players defending from the front.

And Grayson was pleased with how his troops handled the tricky underfoot conditions.

“It is never going to be easy, but I think when it is raining and it is a slick surface, it makes the FA Cup even more memorable,” continued Simon.

“I don’t think it [the weather] affected how they played or how we played, if anything it probably quickened things up a little bit.

“I thought it was a decent cup tie.

“I thought there were some fantastic individual performances, people like Chris Humphrey who does so much work for the team, the back four defended well, but collectively as a team, we worked on things on 
Wednesday that we needed to do.

“We had to let them have the ball at times and try and hit them on the counter attack and everything we did worked tonight and I am very pleased with the players.”

The yellows of PNE were vocally backed by more than 2,000 fans at the City Ground.

A support which Grayson paid tribute to and he is hoping that they are repaid over the coming months with regular fixtures against the likes of Nottm Forest.

When speaking about the away following on Friday night, the manager added: “It doesn’t surprise you does it, we took 3,500 to Wolves the other week and 1,800 up to Carlisle and Shrewsbury.

“This football club has got a big support and it is desperate to try and get back into the Championship ultimately and playing against people like Forest on a regular basis.

“We will still be the underdogs [in the replay] because of what Forest have got, but I’m sure they will be coming up to Deepdale and trying to win the tie, which is certainly what we were both trying to do tonight and we will give it a good go.

“We have got a few other games before that and Forest have and I don’t think either team would have ideally liked a replay, we would like to have won it tonight, but it is all good exposure for the football club, revenue in to us and lifting the profile of Preston North End again.”

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