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Simon Grayson Says Players Must Play At Maximum Level

18 October 2016

Club News

Simon Grayson Says Players Must Play At Maximum Level

18 October 2016

Manager Simon Grayson says his team cannot let their level drop during the tough period of fixtures in October.

The Lilywhites face all of the top four within the month and have started well, taking four points from a home game against Villa and in Saturday’s trip to fourth-placed Brighton.

Next up are third-placed Huddersfield Town, who had sat top for the previous month, and he acknowledges that his team need to be at their very best to keep their five match unbeaten run going.

“You know you have to play at your maximum against these top teams, because of the players you are up against and what they can do against you,” he said.

“What we did last Saturday was that we hung in there, we dug deep and we showed the character to go and get an equaliser, so I was delighted to get a win, because it felt like a point to us and probably felt like a defeat to Brighton.

“We learnt from that one and were pleased with it, but then we have to get ourselves ready to play against a team who have been at the top of the division recently.

“Every game in the Championship is a test for you; for both the players and the management, because there are different formats, different styles of play and different personnel, so you have to be at it. It is relentless and by the end of October we will have played a huge amount of games and then we have a little breather with just three or four games in November.

“You have to be focused, concentrate and when you are winning games don’t get too far ahead of yourself and if you lose a couple of games, don’t get too down and lose focus of what you have done previously that has got your results.

“We know what we need to do as a group and we are embracing this run of games, because the level of the players we are playing against and where they are in the division make it a good test.”

The clash with the Terriers sees the PNE gaffer up against one of his former clubs and he is impressed by what they have shown so far this season.

“They have progressed a lot,” he continued. “There has been a big change in culture since David Wagner went in there.

“Last season we had two of the hardest games we faced all season against them. They put us to the sword at their place and then even at Deepdale, we got a late winner, but there were plenty of signs of them as a quick, effective style of pressing and closing down.

“What they have changed this year, is that they are a little bit harder to beat. They were giving away goals last year, which they haven’t been this year and the defeats or draws that they had last year, they have been able to turn into victories and have ended up top of the league for such a long period of time.

“Once you get on a roll it is easy to try and keep that going, because of the belief of everyone. I went to the game on Sunday and there was a good atmosphere and everyone is enjoying what they are doing.

“The way they play, we have to be very focused on what we need to do in order to get the win.”

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