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Simon Grayson: “The Game Can’t Come Quick Enough”

21 May 2015

Two weeks between winning the two-legged semi-final and the Play-Off Final have left manager Simon Grayson counting the hours until kick-off.

The North End boss admitted he just now wanted match to get underway, with preparations in their final stages ahead of the clash with Swindon Town at Wembley Stadium.

“The game can’t come quick enough now,” admitted the PNE gaffer. “The players are looking forward to it, the supporters are; everyone’s excited and probably a little bit apprehensive and nervous – although that’s more supporters than players – and we can’t wait for it to come around.

“A lot of our preparations have been about preparing our players for the day. We have given ourselves the best opportunity to work on things to be ready for what we face and little bit of fine detail can go a long way.

“We have to make sure the players are focused on what they need to do and are not getting carried away with the whole day rather than what is happening on the pitch. They need to carry out the instructions of what we have worked on. 

“The real deal is the game and hopefully the experience I’ve had before will help and the players can go and put on the sort of performance we have strived for all season. There are a lot of players who are looking forward to it and it is a fantastic opportunity for us to get into the Championship.”

Going into the third game of the season with the Robins the Lilywhites chief was delighted to have a fully fit squad to choose from.

“It looks like everyone will be fit for the weekend and that is testament to the players who have worked hard over the season alongside the medical team of Matt Jackson and Tom Little to make them all available,” he continued.

“It makes my job even harder come the weekend, because we have some tough calls to make about who is going to be playing, what shape we are going to be playing and there will be some disappointed players who have contributed immensely to this season so far, but that’s football.

“I will pick a team with the aim of winning the match rather than thinking about individuals, because it is about what’s best for the football club – but it is a difficult decision.

“The nucleus of the team will be the same as it has been over the past couple of months; the one thing you can guarantee is that we’ll have Garner and Beckford up front, but we have decisions to make elsewhere.”

Grayson and his team’s Wiltshire opponents have also had an excellent season, but the manager says dealing with the day and focusing solely on the game will be a key facet for the game.

“You have seen all season what Swindon have been about. A lot of credit has to go to Mark and his staff; he has kept to his philosophies of how he wants to play the game.

“They are a team that pass the ball around; they have some good players who can handle it and have players that can score goals.

“They take risks at time and we know what we need to do to try and hurt them. We have to be organised and disciplined, but we know we have threats going forward.

“They will know our weaknesses and strengths; so it will be about who handles the day, who handles the occasion, who has a little bit of luck here and there and who takes their chances when they come along who will ultimately win the game,” he added.

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