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Simon Grayson: “We Know What’s At Stake”

13 May 2014

Manager Simon Grayson has said that there is an opportunity for someone to make themselves a hero at the New York Stadium on Thursday night.

Speaking ahead of the Sky Bet League One Play-Off semi-final second leg tie in South Yorkshire, the PNE gaffer was looking forward to the test.

“We’ve been good on the road, produced some really good performances, but we are going to be in for a tough test,” he said.

“We will go there in good spirits - it is still game on. 

“When I was driving home on Saturday night I felt that if we’d played really well and still only drawn 1-1 I would have been disappointed, but I drove away at 1-1 knowing that the team has more in the locker.

“We always said that we had to go into the second leg still in the tie and any manager in the Play-Offs would say the same. If you look at the results across the divisions no team has been out of sight after the first game. It is all to play for and we will be well prepared and ready for it.

“I don’t need to focus the minds of the players; they know what is at stake and what the result on Thursday can lead to, as the Rotherham players will be as well. 

“We just have to go out and make sure we come off the pitch having given everything. If we come off doing that and it is not good enough, then so be it, you can look yourself in the mirror after the game and say ‘I gave it my best shot’ and on the other side of it, if it is enough you can be a very proud person and hopefully that will be the case.

“Somewhere down the line on Thursday night someone is going to be a hero, hopefully that someone is playing for Preston North End.”

The North End chief is hopeful of having a fully fit squad to choose from, with only midfielder Neil Kilkenny a doubt:.

“We are hopeful of having everybody available and hopefully whatever team we put out are good enough to go and win the game,” he continued.

“Neil Kilkenny is the only one who is touch and go, but we will give him right to the last minute, as you would with any player at this stage of the season.”

The Millers put in an excellent display at Deepdale on Saturday, showing the Lilywhites the standard they need to reach in order to get the right result against Steve Evans’ men on Thursday night.

“They have got some good players, as they proved on Saturday night against us. 

“They are a threat, they gave us a tough first half where we were under pressure and we didn’t impose our game well enough, but we got going a little bit in second half. Even then, when we had the amount of possession that we did, they still showed what they are capable of doing on the counter-attack. 

“They have been very difficult to beat this year and whatever personnel Steve puts out then they will have a go.

“We have players that are capable of supplying opportunities, and also players who can create things out of nothing and you need that x-factor in your team. You can’t have a team of 11 robots who play to a certain way, you have to have individual brilliance and skill. 

“Things won’t always work out, sometimes things will go over the bar, but you can’t stop players from trying. I would never criticise my players for trying something in the final third, they’d only get criticised if they don’t work as hard as they should do,” he added.

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