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Club News

Simon Grayson Delighted For Chris Kirkland

5 March 2016

Manager Simon Grayson was pleased to see Chris Kirkland keep a clean sheet on his home debut after the late change of goalkeepers.

Until 90 minutes before the game Anders Lindegaard was in the side, but an illness for the Dane meant a first league start for the former England stopper as the PNE boss explained to PNE PlayerHD after the game.

“Anders was okay yesterday and the virus kicked in a bit more overnight,” he explained. “He was driving in from his home and felt pretty bad. He saw the doctor and whilst he wanted to play it wasn’t the right thing to do.

“We had to change and Chris Kirkland came in, showed his experience and what he was capable of doing. The lads in front of him protected him really well, but when he had to catch things or kick things or make a save, he did, so I am really pleased he has shown people what he is capable of doing.

“He has been out of injured himself for ten days and only came back to training on Thursday and we didn’t train on Friday because of the snow, but that shows what good professionals are about; they prepare properly and I am really pleased he kept a clean sheet on his home debut.”

The game itself was a tight affair, with North End taking a while to settle: “I thought there wasn’t much in the game for the first 30 minutes,” continued the gaffer, speaking to the online TV channel. 

“We didn’t play as well as we would have liked to have done with the ball, but defensively we did very well. We limited them to very few opportunities and had a spell just before half-time where we got the ball down and passed it a little bit better and quicker and worked more to get on the ball in the midfield areas. 

“In the second half we did things better, played very well and were a bit unfortunate not to win the game in the end.

“They have plenty of threats and we knew they had good players, but we needed to have a little bit more belief that we could work harder to get on the ball and play it shorter rather than up to Joe all the time. 

“Once we did that we looked a better team and we always do look better when we play shorter and quicker passes and ultimately we created a few more chances and looked really bright.”

The best chance came early in the second half when Calum Woods came within a lick of paint of opening his account for the Club.

“It was a good move and when the wing backs push up they have to pick their moments and Calum timed his run perfectly well and did everything you expect him to and the keeper made a fine save onto the bar and unfortunately for us it finished this side of the line rather than the right side for us.

“We had some other opportunities without testing Stockdale too much, but at the other end Chris Kirkland didn’t have too much to do in the other goal,” added the manager.

Click here now to watch the full interview and to watch reaction from Bailey Wright, who received the sponsors' man of the match.


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