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Simon Grayson: “It Is A Fantastic Fixture, Both Personally And Professionally”

5 May 2016

Manager Simon Grayson welcomes his former employers to Deepdale for the final game of the 2015/16 season, looking to try and gain a top ten finish.

The North End boss is looking forward to the visit of Leeds United to PR1 and admitted that it was a game he immediately scanned the fixtures for once they were released back in June 2015.

But with just 90 minutes left of a positive first campaign back in the second tier, the gaffer wants to ensure that there is one final hurrah; he said: “It is a fantastic fixture, both personally and professionally. It is a great game for the supporters and will be a great atmosphere; they are brining over 5,000 and we want to win the game to try and finish in that top ten.

“The two Leeds fixtures were ones I looked at when the fixtures came out and it was quite ironic that it was the last game of the season, but it is just about getting the three points.

“We played very well at Elland Road before Christmas, with the blow of being down to ten men and having the goalkeeper sent off. We should have got a result there, but ultimately it is about getting a result this weekend.

“We can finish above them, which is nice, and we are going to finish above a lot of big, experienced teams who have spent a lot more money than us, which is impressive as well.”

A big crowd is again expected inside Deepdale and the Lilywhites’ chief feels that when this has been the case the performance levels have raised amongst his team.

“There should be 17 or 18,000 in the ground and we have had some good performances when it has been like that,” he continued. “Hull, Sheffield Wednesday and Burnley and now Leeds this weekend. It makes it a lot more interesting when you have a fantastic atmosphere and there is still plenty to play for.

“Leeds will want to finish the season in a positive manner.

“When they look back on the season they will, like a lot of teams, think they have underachieved. The size of Leeds and with their budget – which is two or three times the size of ours – should be pushing for the top six, so they will be disappointed with the way their season has panned out, but ultimately it is about what we are doing and hopefully we can end on a positive manner  on Saturday.”

Currently in 11th, but with an opportunity finish as high as ninth with a victory over the Whites and results elsewhere going for them, the target Simon set his team a few weeks ago is in their own hands.

“We have been saying over the last few week that we wanted to finish in the top half and that is what we are going achieve, but we also want to try and finish in the top ten.

“This time last week we were talking about winning the last two games of the season and we played very well last week at Reading and deservedly won the game and we need to try and replicate that again on Saturday.

“If we win the game we can still finish ninth or tenth, which would be a huge success for us,” he added.


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