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First Team News

Simon Grayson On ‘Special Fixture’

6 April 2017

First Team News

Simon Grayson On ‘Special Fixture’

6 April 2017

A return to Elland Road for Preston North End manager Simon Grayson is also a special day, but there is no-one more motivated than him this weekend.

The Lilywhites’ gaffer spoke to PNE PlayerHD ahead of the trip across the Pennines and admitted that this is always a red letter day in his calendar, but that his side can use it as further momentum for their Play-Off hopes.

Sitting down with the club’s online TV channel at Springfields the PNE chief talked of the squad’s determination to build upon their start to a difficult looking April set of fixtures.

“The fixture is special to me, to go back there, but this was always going to be a key game,” said Simon. “April was always going to be like that and so far we have had some tough games, got some good results, but the next four are big games in the calendar.

“We will go to Leeds and try and build off Tuesday night’s result and try and get the three points, to try and get closer to the Play-Offs.

“We got there in good spirits. We are not over complacent; we are determined to go there and try and get a result and ultimately see where it takes us after that.

“This is a great stage for players. At Leeds, Huddersfield and Newcastle there will be big crowds and that’s what the Championship is about now.

“Leeds have had some really strong form at home this year; there will be 30,000 expected – they will be expecting three points, but we will go there and try and silence the crowd, try to put a bit of pressure on them and try and build on the results we have had.

“There is no reason we can’t go there and get three points and keep building the momentum we have got.”

The opposition started their campaign slowly, a bit like the Lilywhites, but once the first six weeks were out of the way they were soon up to speed and have maintained a place inside the top six for the last few months.

However, with just six games remaining the nerves can start to do strange things on teams and the North End boss says that his side must make it difficult in this vital Roses battle.

“Garry has done a really good job on and off the pitch,” he continued. “He has managed the off the pitch stuff really well and on the pitch they have had a great season. They are desperate to get back into the Premier League and if pre-season you had said they would be in the top six I am sure they would have taken that.

“They have Chris Wood, who is the top scorer in the division; defensively they have been very strong, but the opposition will be looking at us and thinking ‘Preston have got this, that and the other and we have to combat what they do’.

“They have some strength in depth. They have lost Liam Cooper, but they welcomed Janssen back on Tuesday night and they left out Charlie Taylor, which shows what they have got, but is all about 11 versus 11 and we have to try and silence the crowd, make it difficult for them, because at this stage of the season there is a lot of pressure on the teams in the Play-Offs because of the carrot that is being dangled in front of everybody and no more so in the Championship, where there is the opportunity to get into the Premier League.

“We will go there in good spirits. We won’t be over complacent, but we will be confident, try and put on a good performance and try and get three points.”

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