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Simon Grayson Liking The Challenge Of The Top Teams

3 March 2016

Manager Simon Grayson is relishing the challenge of another of the automatic promotion contenders coming to Deepdale in the form of Brighton & Hove Albion this weekend.

Manager Simon Grayson is relishing the challenge of another of the automatic promotion contenders coming to Deepdale in the form of Brighton & Hove Albion this weekend.

The Lilywhites entertain the Seagulls, who come to PR1 off the back of two four goal victories in their last two games and therefore the PNE boss is well aware of the difficulty ahead of his team, but also aware of what three points could mean.

“It would probably mean we were safe, but not mathematically!” He said with a wry smile.

“It is a big game for us at the weekend, a big three points available for both clubs. We have said over the last few weeks that we don’t have any targets of where we want to finish, but we have to focus on each game and deal with it when it comes our way.

“When you look at Brighton they are a really consistent team. They have a good manager, good players and they have been up there all season. 

“They played Cardiff a couple of weeks ago and conceded four, but it was a game where they didn’t ever look like they would do that, but they were punished for every mistake they made.

“They bounced back with a big victory at Bristol City and then on Monday night they were helped along the way with some poor performances from Leeds United, but when you are given those opportunities you have to make sure you take them.

“They have a very good squad; you just look at the lads they have up front at the moment, plus Zamora, Wilson and Skalak on the bench; they are up there on merit and it is another tough game for us.

“But we have proved already this year against the top teams that we like a challenge and we have done really well.”

Chris Hughton’s side sit well placed for a tilt at the Premier League and the North End gaffer thinks they have a great chance of returning to the top flight for the first time since 1983.

“I think they have a good chance at automatic promotion,” he continued. “There are a lot of points still to be played for. Every team is going to have a dip throughout the season and they did very well to respond when it happened to them.

“The teams that are up around the top four places at the moment have players who are very consistent. The team selections are very consistent and they have players who can come in and they do whatever it takes to win games.

“None of those teams are ones that are the first to admit that they play suicide football, throwing it out from the back and trying to entertain in that respect; they do whatever is required to win the game. They will grind out results and ask questions of you; they are disciplined and try to keep clean sheets. If they have to bore people to death then they will do that, because you have to do whatever is effective to try and get promotion and they are certainly in the shake up for automatic promotion.”

The fact it is another of the promotion contenders at Deepdale will no doubt have not passed the dressing room by either; especially when they seem to lift their game even further when playing the best the Championship has to offer.

“It doesn’t matter if you are a Preston North End player or an Accrington Stanley player, if you play a team that, on paper, has better players than you, you want to stand up and be counted. As an individual you want to come out on top in those battles and you also have to make sure you are really focused, because you are going to get punished by the better players.

“There is often an extra vibe around the ground because of who you are playing. We saw that against Sheffield Wednesday; top players, top crowd and players respond to that, because the adrenaline goes through the players more than – with no disrespect – when we play Charlton on a Tuesday night.

“You have to do whatever is required to win any game. When you are a team ranked lower in a division than your opponent, it is a feather in your cap if you can turn them over and our players have been disciplined in what they can do,” he added.

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