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Simon Grayson Expects A Test

6 March 2014

The North End boss felt that Oldham have given his side as tough a test this season as anyone they have played.

Lee Johnson’s Latics gave the Lilywhites a full examination in the live Sky game earlier this season, with PNE coming out 2-1 winners, but the Greater Manchester side gained revenge with an impressive 2-0 Johnstone’s Paint Trophy win the following month.

With the third and final game between the sides this season the next match up, the gaffer is well aware of what his side will face at Boundary Park.

“We want to be tight; we want to be organised; we want to be hard to beat and then take chances when they come along,” he said.

“That is how we have set up all season. We go into every game to win it; to dominate the opposition and there have been a lot of games away from home where we have dominated from start to finish and we have got some really good results.

“However, we know that Oldham are a really good team. They gave us two of the hardest games we’ve had this season already, in the league and in the JPT.

“They have energy about them; they have some good quality and caused us problems.

“I am quite surprised that with the way they played against us this year, and other games we have seen them in, to see them as low down as they are.

“In the league game, from start to finish, they were vibrant, they were hard-working and they pass the ball with a purpose and that was a game where we got three points that we probably didn’t deserve, but that’s football.

“We are fully aware of what problems they can cause us, but every game that we are involved in, we feel that we can cause problems to the opposition as well.”

With a dozen games to go the team sit six points off an automatic promotion spot and the PNE chief feels that his side are coming into form at the right time.

“We are getting results when results matter,” he continued. “You know that in March you have to win games if you are going to get to where you want to get to. 

“We are pleased with how the players are going; the momentum is building and, as I have said previously, it is how teams do at the end of the season that matters, not before that. 

“Credit to the players for what they are doing. They just have to keep working hard and keep improving day in, day out.”

Going into the game against Oldham he is hopeful of having a fully fit squad to choose from, with skipper John Welsh set for a return: “We had a few knocks after last weekend, but the majority of the squad will be fit and available and John Welsh is hoping to join in training, which will give us a nice compliment of players ahead of a tough game at the weekend.

“We do a lot of pre-hab and recovery work, so credit to the medical department. The players do conduct themselves and look after themselves ever so well, so we are pleased,” he added.

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