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Simon Grayson Ready To Dish Out Capital Punishment

26 November 2015

Trips to the capital have been in general fruitful for North End in recent times and with the final one of the season on Saturday, Simon Grayson is targeting another positive result.

The Lilywhites travel to West London to face managerless Fulham at Craven Cottage; their first visit there in over 15 years and with a 2,000 strong following making their way down from Lancashire they want to return to winning ways and bring three points back to the north west.

For the third consecutive game they face a side who are in a state of flux in term of team management, with head coach Kit Symons having been sacked earlier on this month and there is certainly a feeling of déjà vu for the PNE boss.

“We are a little bit in the balance of what they are going to do, how they are going to play, will they have a new manager for the weekend?” He said ahead of the clash with the Cottagers. “This seems to have been the norm over the last few weeks, where we have been coming up against managers or clubs that have either got a caretaker or someone coming in. It is something you have to deal with.

“If you look at them in general they are a very attacking team. 

“They are the leading goalscorers in the division, but are the second or third weakest in terms of conceding. We will just keep doing on preparations based on what we think they are going to play, but also concentrate on what we need to do, which is keep it tight defensively, but ultimately try and do enough at the other end of the pitch to try and win the game.”

Dealing with the issue of how a team who have just sacked their manager might line-up, both in terms of personnel and shape is something that the gaffer and his staff have got used to in the last month.

“It is hard to work out whether they are going to change personnel or formation, but we have to concentrate on what we are going to do,” he continued. “We give the players a rough idea of what they might do, but that might all go out of the window with someone having a different viewpoint. 

“We will see where we go with that, but we will make sure we are doing enough to go and win the game and we will work on the things we need to do to make them better.

“It is hard for managers to deliver the expectancy levels that people above them require, but they have some good players, they have recruited over the summer and I know a few of their players very well.”

Like the previous game Grayson will come up against a striker who he has worked closely alongside, in fact someone he signed when manager of Leeds United: “ I signed Ross McCormack when I was at Leeds and worked with him and he is a good player. 

“He has a young striker in Dembele alongside him, who is catching the eye, so they have a squad that is capable of getting up to the top areas of the division, but I am sure that on Saturday they will be aware are up against a team who is capable of competing in ourselves.

“What we have done over the last few weeks, when we have come up against players who have been top strikers is that we have kept them quiet and nullified any effect they can have on the game. We saw that last week against Blackburn and before that Charlie Austin didn’t hit the target and hopefully that’s the same this weekend, keeping their attacking threats quiet and go and do what we need to do at the other end of the pitch. 

“You have to try and get all the elements of your game working correctly to help you go and win a game,” added the North End chief.

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