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Simon Grayson Searching For Top Gear

14 March 2014

The North End boss spoke ahead of the live Sky clash with Sheffield United and said his side were looking to step up a gear for the final ten games.

Looking ahead to the Roses clash, he met with the press and thought his side would be able to further improve in the final run of matches.

“We are trying to get into fifth gear,” he said. “If you are in fifth gear you are probably like Wolves, who are flying at the moment. We are somewhere in between fourth and fifth and want to get up to fifth gear and really put the pressure on the teams in around us and give ourselves that opportunity. We are doing okay and we have to maintain that now.

“Wolves are strong favourites for the division – as everyone expected at the start of the season. They have done well in the market in the window and have gone from strength to strength, but they are still catchable by half a dozen teams at the moment, so Kenny will say it is far from being home and hosed.

“We’ve got ten games to go now; ten winnable games and if we can win as many of those as we can, then we are still in with a chance. 

“It is out of our hands, in a sense, if we want to claim one of the top two spots, but there will be many twists and turns from now until the end of the season and we will just keep going in every game we play.

“People will be looking at who is playing each other, but we just have to make sure we do what we need to do. The last thing we want to have when we come off the pitch is to have any regrets that we have not given our all in a game, or be disappointed that we have not won a game and then find out that other teams have dropped points.

“That is going to be the case between now and the end of the season; teams are going to drop points – we might drop points – but hopefully we won’t be dropping as many as the teams in and around us, giving us that chance to get into the top two. But if we don’t do that, then we have to make sure we are in the Play-Offs and we will look forward to that.”

Monday’s opponents are on the back of a tremendous run of ten straight wins themselves and the PNE boss was full of praise for his opposite number with the Blades.

“It’s been a strange season for them,” he continued. “They had a poor start and then they had the change of manager. Nigel [Clough] has come in and done a fantastic job. 

“It has not happened over night, he has taken time to get his own players in and get across his philosophy of what they needed to do, but the last few weeks they have been really hard to beat, resilient, playing counter-attacking football and that has suited them. Even at home they sit back and let teams come on to them and then hit teams on the break and they have only conceded something like two goals in the last ten games and they have flown up the table. 

“They will be looking at the teams above them thinking that if they get another few wins they will be able to sneak into the Play-Offs, whereas ten or 12 games ago they were looking at the bottom three or four, but fantastic credit to Nigel for what he has done.

“At the start of the season if people were talking about who would be up there challenging for promotion, then Sheffield United would certainly have been one of people’s favourites to do that. Just because they had a poor start doesn’t mean that they didn’t have good footballers, because they have proved that they have. 

“I know quite a few of them, who I have worked with in the past, and a lot of them are Championship players. Sheffield United are a big football club and they are now getting to where they thought they would be at the start of the season. It is a really tough game for us, but we have to build on the run we have been having recently and hopefully get three points,” he added.

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