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First Team News

Simon Grayson Looking For Catapulting Run

23 February 2017

North End manager Simon Grayson is looking for a big run of victories to catapult his side into contention for a Play-Off place come May.

The Lilywhites currently sit in tenth place, nine points behind the sixth-placed Sheffield Wednesday and the gaffer recognises that it will require an impressive run if his side are to be contenders for a top six finish.

However, he feels that with the working environment being a happy one, that anything is possible for a squad of players that in many people’s eyes are already exceeding expectations.

“I think we have tried to create an atmosphere where people enjoy coming into work since we have been at the football club and results do make it easier, but there is a fine line between being complacent and doing what you need to do.

“We have 13 big games to go and we will approach them all in a positive manner with a big work ethic amongst ourselves and see where that takes us. The lads are enjoying what they are doing and that is a big part of what you need to do as a manager.

“We want to win as many games as possible. We are at that stage of the season where it all about results and not about performances. If you can put the two together, which we have had recently with the Brentford and the Birmingham games then that is even better. Saturday’s game was a bit below par and a bit frustrating, but if you can win football matches between now and the end of the season then it can move you up the table.

“If we can keep winning at home and picking something up away then it is a good sign for us. We have done well recently at home, but it is a tough game on Saturday against QPR.

“We have had two hard fought away draws, so we are progressing in the right manner. If you look back, it is now four defeats in 25, which is very encouraging.

“The only disappointment is that if you really want to sustain a push for the Play-Offs, we have been short a couple of times in the last few months where some teams have gone and got four, five or six wins on the bounce, which can really catapult you up the division; for whatever reason we have not done that, but we will look to do it and win as many as possible.

“Everybody will be playing each other and there will some strange results as well where the teams at the bottom will get results against the teams around us and we have plenty of fixtures of teams who are around us, the likes of Newcastle, Leeds, Huddersfield, Reading, Norwich, Derby and Fulham, so we will have plenty to say in this battle.”

The PNE chief also feels that his side’s relative success thus far has been overlooked, despite sitting well above some of the Championship’s other much-vaunted members.

“We are still under the radar to an extent,” he continued. “Everybody is still talking about the big teams, what they are going to do and what sort of runs they can go on to get into the Play-Offs and that comes with the territory with the so-called bigger teams in the division and what they have spent.

“Teams are certainly aware of us and that has shown in recent games – Wigan last week, for example, worked extremely hard to stop our better players from affecting the game and you have to be aware of that; the more success you have as a team, the more you will come into focus and the more people will want to do to stop you from hurting them and that’s what we look at times.”

This weekend’s visitors to PR1 have had excellent back-to-back victories and Ian Holloway’s Queens Park Rangers will also be looking upwards rather than over their shoulders after they moved above the 40 point threshold on Tuesday night.

“You know what Ollie is like. He is a bubbly character; he is positive about what he is going to do. He got off to an average start, but has had two very good results in their last two games, winning the way they did at Birmingham and then it was a different type of dogged win on Tuesday night against Wigan, which bodes well for them.

“They have spent a bit of money, Ollie has turned the squad around, has pace and ability in the team and he will be looking forward to this fixture to keep them going in the right direction.

“It just shows you how well we are doing that we are above teams who have bigger budgets and who have spent a lot of money on individuals, it shows we have done really well. But it is not just related to money, it is about the players you have got and fight, quality and spirit you have got and all those ingredients can help you along the way.

“Money can get you so far, but it doesn’t get you success and we are proving that.”


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