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First Team News

Simon Grayson On ‘Big Game’ At Leeds United

6 April 2017

First Team News

Simon Grayson On ‘Big Game’ At Leeds United

6 April 2017

Preston North end manager Simon Grayson is looking forward to taking his current side back to his former club this weekend.

The Lilywhites travel to Elland Road to face Garry Monk’s Leeds United, looking to close the gap on the top six against a side who currently occupy one of the end of season Play-Off spots.

Speaking ahead of the Roses clash Simon admitted the magnitude of the fixture: “It’s a big game,” he said. “When you looked at the fixtures at the start of the season you thought that the month of April would be a big month for us, regardless of where we were in the table, because of the teams we would be playing.

“It is Leeds this weekend and then we have Huddersfield, Norwich and Newcastle, so it was always going to be a big month for us and it is no different for us now because we are close to the Play-Offs.

“Elland Road is a tough place to go against a team who is desperate to stay in the Play-Offs, but we will go there to try and spoil the party and try and get something out of the game, which would keep us within touching distance of those Play-Offs.”

Some have described the game as a ‘must win’ for the Lilywhites in their quest to be in one of the four end of season slots and the PNE gaffer said that a win would be first and foremost in their targets.

“We try to win every game, whether it is home or away,” he continued. “We don’t set out for draws and I think it is important we try and pick up three points and not one and the focus will be on that.

“I keep saying it, but it still applies, is that we have to keep plodding along and see where that takes us. Any game we go into we are looking to win it.

“I am enjoying every twist and turn. It is great to be up where we are rather than down near the bottom in any division, where the pressure is to stay in the division. We have always said that we are embracing it – we are not under any pressure to get into the top six, so we can go out every game and express ourselves.

“We want to get there and it is great to be a part of. The last few weeks will have twists and turns and we just have to keep working hard and try and get the points to get us where we want to get to.”

The trip across the Pennines will see Simon and co facing a vociferous 30,000 plus home support and is well aware of their threats: “When you have 30,000 in the crowd and you are in the top, then you have to make sure you go and do a job and try and keep the crowd quiet, because at Elland Road they can play a big part.

“They have been strong at home this season, but we will go there and make it difficult this weekend. We have got some good results away from home this season and we will be aiming to beat them and get the three points.

“Chris Wood is a handful, so we have to deal with that; Hernandez is a clever player and they seem to be quite secure at the back, but as is the case throughout the Championship, they are not unbeatable. They will have taken note about how well we have been playing and will know we can cause them problems,” he added.

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