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First Team News

Simon Grayson Looking To Keep The Pressure On

12 April 2017

Manager Simon Grayson believes there are a lot of twists and turns to come in the race for the top six with five games of the season to go.

The Lilywhites start the last five countdown with a Good Friday trip to face Huddersfield Town at the John Smith’s Stadium on the Bank Holiday afternoon and he is still hopeful that his side can upset the odds and make the end of season fixtures.

“We are still not ruling out the opportunity of getting into the Play-Offs,” said the gaffer ahead of the trip to West Yorkshire. “There will be a lot of twists and turns before the end of the season.

“There have been a lot of results that have happened just in the last ten days that have really surprised people – most notably I went to Huddersfield last week and watched them against Norwich, where they beat them quite comfortably and then Norwich go and put seven past Reading, who have been in the Play-Off places all year. So that just shows you want it happening, we’ve just got to keep going and see where it takes us.

“We are not going to give up on the opportunity of trying to get into the Play-Offs, but if we don’t ultimately achieve that, then we want to make sure that we finish off on a positive manner for next year and finish above where we finished last year.”

The Terriers have surprised many people this year, still in with a shout of a top two finish at the business end of the season, but it the former manager at Huddersfield is not one of those who is shocked by their press for automatic promotion.

“When we played Huddersfield last year, I did say that they were the best side that we had played and they were in bottom six of the Championship,” continued Simon. “So it speaks volumes for what they have done over the summer and how they have carried it forward.

“They were very good last Boxing Day when they beat us quite comfortably. We then beat them at home, but they played very well and in a manner that you thought something could happen with that team.

“I think anybody connected with Huddersfield would be first to admit that they didn’t expect them to be up in the real top reaches of the division – I am sure they would have liked to have been – but they are and they are there for a reason.

“They play an expansive style of football, they have some very good players. They have one of the key players in the Championship in Aaron Mooy, who I think is an exceptional talent, and they have just kept on going. When they have had a setback here and there, they have responded in a positive manner and they are a very good team.”

His own team were outstanding against David Wagner’s men, who topped the division when they visited Deepdale back in October and the PNE chief wants more of the same in front of what could be a full house at 3pm on Friday.

“I think it was one of the best performances we have put in this season. They were in the top two at that particular time and playing with a lot of confidence, but from start to finish we totally dominated the game and it was a very good performance from us.

“We asked questions of them and you have to do that. You sometimes have to play a different style of football against different teams in this division and hopefully on Friday we make it difficult for them without the ball.

“We have to set those sort of standards again on Friday. We are away from home and there will be a good atmosphere, because they have got the numbers in, so we have to go there and be better than we were at Leeds – with and without the ball – we have to be a little bit more ruthless, don’t allow the opposition to get chances like we did with Leeds and then ultimately take our chances when we get them.

“We are aware of all the strengths they have got but no tam is invincible. It has all the ingredients of being a good game,” he added.