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Simon Grayson Looking For Anniversary Present On Saturday

18 February 2016

Manager Simon Grayson is expecting an entertaining game at Deepdale this weekend as two of the form teams face each other in a Roses battle.

The Owls are undefeated in their last eight league games, taking 19 points from those games, whilst North End have only lost one and picked up 17 points to sit behind the South Yorkshire outfit in the form table.

And the North End boss, who celebrated three years in charge of the Lilywhites on Thursday, is expecting a competitive encounter against a good side.

“It should be a good game,” he said ahead of the game. “When you look at the stats of the last eight games I think they are the form team and we are second at the moment, so it just proves how well we are doing when you look at the size of Sheffield Wednesday as a club and the budget that they have. 

“They have recruited significantly and have a remit to try and get into the Premier League. The money they have spent from last pre-season to this recent window, where they have improved things again with the permanent signing of Gary Hooper and the addition of Aiden McGeady, has been a big investment. They have some really talented players; Forestieri, Bannan etc. so it is a big test for us, but we have thrived on the big games. It will be a fantastic atmosphere.

“The players have done extremely well and on Saturday afternoon they have to do whatever it takes to go and win another game and by Saturday night hopefully they will have put on a performance and built on the run and the success we have had recently. 

“We want to carry on winning games, keep trying to get up the table and see where it takes us.”

The visitors are bringing a sell-out 5,700 away following to PR1 across the Pennines and the North End gaffer admits that this is what his side worked so hard to get back into the Championship before.

“It will be a fantastic atmosphere and that is what the Championship is all about,” he continued. “That is why we worked so hard to get here. No disrespect to League One, but you can sometimes have 150 away fans whereas on Saturday we will have a full away end and that will be the case for a few more games this season yet. 

“It is fantastic to see us where we are and now we want to go and put on a performance and try and narrow the gap on a team that are desperate to win promotion.

“We are not getting ahead of ourselves though. We know they have some key players and we have to be on the top of our game to get a result, but we certainly feel we are more than capable of doing that.”

PNE’s record against teams in the top six has been excellent so far this campaign and they are looking to continue that against the Owls, as the manager explained: “Both home and away we have achieved good results against the top teams this season. 

“The last big game at home was against Hull and we beat them 1-0, so it would be nice to have a repeat of that and get another three points on the board. But, they have some good players, a good manager, some threats and all of our players have to be on top of their game and hopefully they are. 

“They have a big squad, so they can mix it up as well. We are under no illusions that this is going to be a tough game, but these are the games you want to be involved in as a player. You want to be testing yourself and again when our players have played against the big teams and the big players they have all wanted to make sure they are on top of their game, because if they are not they will get found out and you can be embarrassed by good players. 

“They will be ready for it, are very buoyant after the results we have had recently and we will look to start the game well, finish the game well and look to get the three points,” he added.


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