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Simon Grayson: “Game On For Both Teams”

10 May 2014

Manager Simon Grayson admitted the first leg draw with Rotherham was the tight affair he expected, but he was full of praise for his goalscorer.

Speaking after his side’s 1-1 drawn tie with the Millers the North End boss felt his side can improve a lot for the second leg.

“We always knew it would be a tough tie, very tight, as in the previous two drawn games,” he said. “They were better than us first half, we didn’t pass the ball well enough, but we knew we had to be better and get back into the game. 

“And if you are going to get back into a game, that is some way of doing it, isn’t it? 

“We are delighted to be still in the tie. We said to the players at half-time that we wanted to get back into it, but we didn’t want to play kamikaze football that meant we left ourselves too much to do in the second leg.

“It is game on, with plenty to play for now.”

Goalscorer Garner, who ended the tie trending across the UK on social media, brought the stadium to its feet with his piece of magic on 49 minutes.

“The way he controlled it, flicked it over the lad and hit it first time meant that the keeper didn’t have a chance,” continued the gaffer. “It was worthy of winning a game, let along getting you back into a tie.

“You can’t ask any more from Joe. He has worked hard all season, got the goals, won the player of the year and it was nice moment to see the ball in the back of the net, which got us going second half. 

“We knew what Rotherham were about; they don’t make it easy for you and that was certainly the case today.

“Our retention of the ball wasn’t as good as it should have been. We didn’t pass the ball as well as we have done over the past few weeks and months, but you know they will be in your faces and make it difficult for you.

“There’s a lot of things we have to do better if we are going to win the tie at Rotherham, but I believe we can do that.

“You have to make sure your solid and not give the opposition a sniff of your goal. We need to defend better as a team and we’ll analyse everything, go again and enjoy it.

“There are players who will know they can do better on Thursday and have done all season.”

The draw will mean many now have the South Yorkshire side as clear favourites to progress, but Simon is relishing the game.

“We’ve had a fantastic season, some great results on the road and there’s no reason why we can’t do that.

“They will have a full house, but it’s game on for both teams.

“There are no favourites; today showed what this division is all about. There’s still plenty to play for,” he added.

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