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Simon Grayson Looking For Positive Home Start

11 August 2016

The Lilywhites play their first home league game of the new EFL Sky Bet Championship this season, entertaining Fulham at Deepdale.

Manager Simon Grayson is looking for a victory against Slavisa Jokanovic’s Cottagers, but it aware that they arrive full of confidence, after opening the season with a victory over title favourites Newcastle United at Craven Cottage last Friday night.

“I think any game in the Championship, any team can beat anybody else and when you are at home, under the lights, live on TV, it can give you a buzz and you are capable of beating any team,” said the gaffer of that victory for the Londoners.

“They have some good players. What Fulham have done from last year is that they have addressed the situaton where they were conceding too many goals; they have lost the goals of McCormack and Dembele, but they have brought other players in. They have got some talented players.

“As a football club they will have been disappointed how the season was last year, given the players they had, but they have started the season well with a win on Tuesday night, as well as Friday, and it is a tough game.

“We played them in pre-season and they beat us in that particular game, so we know what to expect; but it is about what we try and do on Saturday. We need to build off Tuesday’s performance, because I thought there was some good play at times. There are things we still need to improve and quicken up on, but we have to concentrate on what we can do at home and try and get our first league victory.”

The summer saw Saturday’s visitors lose the goals of Ross McCormack and Moussa Dembele from their armoury, but he believes, they may be stronger as a team for it.

“They have different types of players now,” continued the PNE boss. “Matt Smith looks like he is going to get a chance, having been a bit part player last season because of the form of McCormack and Dembele, and you know what you are going to get from him.

“They have brought Aluko in as well, who can play off Smith and they have Woodrow as well, who is a lively striker, so they have different types of players in the group. This strengthens them as a general team, whereas last year they were perhaps a bit more open, which is why they conceded so many.

“All that is not my problem though; we need to make sure we are looking to find any weaknesses in the team, look to exploit those, keep a clean sheet and if we can do that we hopefully pick up our first league victory.”

Home comforts are something the North End squad are hoping to enjoy this season and play their second of four home games out of five at 3pm this weekend.

And the managers is pleased to go into the game on the back of a cup victory and hopes the team can use that to kick on again: “The other night was a good win for us, because if you lose your first game and then your second as well, you go into your third game with an extra bit of pressure mounting.

“It will be a bigger atmosphere on Saturday; there will be an excitement amongst the fans about the first home game of the season, so it is something to look forward to.

“The other night we saw better signs from us; keeping the ball better and looking harder to break down and we have to do all those things again. It was a big trait of ours last year that we made it difficult for the opposition to play and we have to get that balance between being solid defensively, but also taking the game to the opposition.

“The lads know what they need to do. It is difficult to do too much on the training ground with games Saturday-Tuesday at this time of the season, but we will freshen them up and be ready to go,” he added.

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