Preston North End manager Simon Grayson described Saturday’s 3-1 victory over Oldham Athletic as a ‘fantastic result’ for him and his players.
After an ideal start to proceedings which saw the Lilywhites score inside the opening five minutes, Joe Garner doubles their lead in the second half before Gary Harkins pulled a goal back for the hosts.
Garner then missed a penalty before grabbing his 20th of the season to seal the victory.
A win which delighted the gaffer.
Speaking post-match, Grayson said: “It’s a fantastic result for us.
“I thought we played well in patches, they put us under pressure because I think Oldham are a good team, one of the best teams we have played at our place earlier in the season, but we got off to a good start and we needed to continue that in the second half and when we came under pressure we withstood it.
“It was nice to get that third goal to kill it off.
“You expected them to come and have a go a bit in the second half and I think we stopped them from playing.
“We passed it around well and created some chances and we maybe could have been out of sight at half-time if we had been a bit more ruthless in that final third with the right pass.
“We got a bit sloppy at times, so I knew that they were going to come out and have a right go and we probably got the second one against the run of play I think.
“It was a good strike by them to get back into the game and we had to withstand the pressure, it would have been nice if the penalty had gone in but after that Joe Garner goes and finishes it really well.
“At this stage in the season you have to grind results out and we have done that today.”
Jack King partnered Scott Wiseman and Tom Clarke in a back three following an injury to Bailey Wright in training – one which makes him a doubt for Stevenage on Tuesday.
And the manager was pleased with how King played; as well as signalling Humphrey out for special praise, after he set up two of the goals and delivered the cross which led to the spot kick.
He continued: “Bailey got a knock in training on Thursday so he is going to be a doubt for Tuesday, but if he has got half a chance to play he will because he is a tough cookie, but he just took a knock on Thursday.
“You have seen Jack King come in today and he did very well, very composed.
“I thought there were some very good individual performances today.
“Chris Humphrey has again built off his last few games were he has been very productive down this right hand side, works extremely hard and he has had plenty of assists.
“He is trying to claim the first goal; Keith Keane is trying to claim it as well, so I’ll leave it up to them to decide who claims it!
“In the first half, Humphrey was almost unplayable, people have had a little pop at Chris at times, but we have been very pleased with how he has done this season.
“He works extremely hard for the team, he is playing with confidence, you can see that.
“Great touch for the first goal, drags it inside and then got a good shot off and he was a real handful.
“When he had to defend in that wing back role he does it well for the team, so I’m really pleased with how he is doing and hopefully he can continue with his progress and his performances.
“Jack King and Tom Clarke hardly put a foot wrong and that’s what we have got, we have got players who can come into this team and not make it any weaker.
“Jack has been outstanding in every game that he has played for us and we went with the 3-5-2 today, back end of the second half we went 4-4-2, but we work with partnerships, we work hard in training, staying out after the main sessions because they want to work and they want to learn and they want to progress and that is fantastic as a manager.
“All you ask them to do is go out and perform to the best of their abilities every week and give the supporters, who again were fantastic today, something to cheer about and they have done that again.”
Garner wasn’t to be given such a big pat on the back however: “He would have a few more if he stuck his penalties away wouldn’t he!? joked Simon with the press.
“He is a handful and gets in the right areas, hits the target more times than not and he is getting the service.
“He will be the first to congratulate the players that are setting him up and you do need these players to score you goals, but hopefully there is another ten left in him and he might get to 30!”
Another group to receive praise from Grayson were the 3,000 strong North End following who made the trip down the M61.
“Just because it is a derby match, that is not the reasons why they have turned out.
“They have followed us for hundreds of miles, been absolutely brilliant all season and it is nice to have that spirit back again amongst the supporters and the players and they really enjoy coming to games if it’s home or away and they will leave another away ground happy, celebrating and with another three points that we have got.
“Hopefully there is a few more away victories for us and a few more home victories and we can have a decent celebration come the end of the season if that is possible.”
Leyton Orient were the only side in the top three that dropped points on Saturday, but Grayson says he has no interest in what other sides are doing in and around his Lilywhites.
“Everybody can get carried away with looking at what everybody else is doing, the results, the fixtures, we have just got to win the games that we can win and if it takes us to where we want to get to – fantastic,” stated Grayson.
“We can’t influence what all the other teams are doing around us, what we have got to do, and we said this to the players before the game, that if we win today and teams drop points, then we are in with a chance.
“If we come in at the end of the game and we have dropped points and you see other teams have dropped points, we would be absolutely gutted.
“So a good performance, I’m sure Oldham over the next few weeks might just cause a few teams in and around us a few problems as well.”