Preston North End manager Simon Grayson has reiterated to his players the need to lift their levels ahead of Monday’s tip to St James’ Park.
“They saw the best of us in the home match, because we gave them a really good game and they were very fortunate to get something out of that game, let alone all three points,” he recalled.
“Up there in the cup the game hinged on Alan Browne’s sending off. There wasn’t much in the game up until that, but when you go up and play Newcastle, it is a tough game with 11 players, but it is made even more difficult when you have ten men for such a large part of the game – plus we rested quite a lot of the first team players as well.
“I am not going to read too much into that performance and result; what we need to do is to be better than we have been in the last two or three games and know that we are in for a tough game.”
After the last three results the PNE chief also stressed the importance of his team do the right things to be competitive: “We have had a meeting with the players and we have told them that if they don’t do the basics right, as we have done for large parts of the season – with and without the ball – then St James’ Park can be a very difficult place to go,” he continued.
“But on the other side of it, if we do all of those things, then we can be a major threat for anybody in this division, as we have proved with our results.
“You just have to look at the Brighton results, as an example, we have taken four points off a team who have just been promoted and we go up to St James’ Park looking to be better than we have been in the last few games and I am sure the players will be looking to give their all in the game.”
Despite the results in the last three games, Simon is pleased that his side have progressed this season and does not was the remaining games to all those high standards that have been set, to slip.
“We have had a fantastic season. We have played some really good stuff and we have scored more goals than we did last year.
“The level of the competition has been far greater in the Championship this season as well, so for us to be where we have been over the last few months, speaks volumes of how we have progressed as a football club.
“We don’t want all that work to be undermined in the final few games of the season, but it should all be put into perspective by the budgets and resources available to each club,” he added.