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John Welsh: The Players Will React

3 May 2014

Skipper John Welsh believes that North End will bounce back as they have done all season following their 2-1 defeat to Crewe Alexandra.

"I think we have only lost two league games in a row once this season, so hopefully that's a bit of an omen to the Rotherham game, we will get a big crowd behind us and I'm sure the players will react, we have done it all season."

On today's game, Welsh admitted: "We know what's expected of us and the standards that we've had all season and today we didn't match up to them, so as the gaffer said he expects a reaction and I'm sure with the lads that we've got and the squad that we've got, character wise, I'm sure he'll get one. 

"We had a lot of possession, but we couldn't break them down. They worked hard, they were organised and we just couldn't find that spark to break them down and create chances."

The result for Crewe meant that they avoided relegation, and Welsh admitted that sides fighting for survival are a tough nut to crack.

"It was tough, they were fighting for their lives, this is their livelihood, and they are going to fight and scrap for every ball that bounces, and that's what they've done. They were really organised, they defended well, and didn't give us a minute on the ball.

"We tried to move them round, and we tried to probe, but it just wasn't happening today for us. We had a couple of half chances, but nothing where we would expect someone to put it away.

"It's a tough situation as they were fighting for their lives and it's up to us to break them down, but we couldn't do that today."

The skipper scored in the final minutes of the game to make it 2–1, making it two goals in two games, but it was mixed feelings for the 30-year-old after the game.

"I'm a little bit disappointed that it's not in a winning game, but as I've said before, I've not got a lot of goals so it's nice to get them.

"But I'd rather the forward lads get the goals for the team, and help us win, it’s nice, but the main thing for me is to win games."

The afternoon’s results elsewhere is League One mean that PNE will face Rotherham in the Play-Off semi-finals, starting with the home leg at Deepdale on Saturday, and Welsh is looking forward to the challenge.

"It's going to be a high pressured game, but that's what we're in football for. We want to play in those games, I'm sure Deepdale will be packed out, and as I said we're expecting a reaction from everyone at the Club and I'm sure we'll get it. 

"It's going to be tough, they're a tough side, they go back to front really quick, if we thought today was a battle it's going to be an even harder battle against them, so we know what to expect, we've played them twice this season, it's going to be tough."

With no fresh injury concerns or suspensions from the game, it means that manager Simon Grayson should have a full squad to choose from come Saturday's game. 

"The gaffer has got a full squad to pick from, so I'm sure he'll be pleased with that, as I said we'll be right up for it, make no mistake about that.

"We know it's going to be a tough two games, hopefully three, and we'll be right up for it and I'm sure there will be a big reaction come the Rotherham game."

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