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First Team News

Simon Grayson Pleased With Consistency

25 February 2017

Manager Simon Grayson was delighted to see his side come from behind to take another three points against Queens Park Rangers.

Another stunning strike from Aiden McGeady and a close range finish from Jordan Hugill, following up after his initial shot was saved by an outstanding Alex Smithies in the Hoops’ goal, made it three straight home wins for the Lilywhites and moved them up to eighth in the table, six points behind the top six.

Speaking to PNE PlayerHD after the game the gaffer said his side’s aim was to just keep trying to win as many games as possible and see where that can take them.

“It was one of those games we knew were going to be tough,” he said. “You can second guess how Ian Holloway’s team are going to play and ultimately we picked a team that was a bit unusual to us, but my hand was forced with what was available.

“The first half there wasn’t too much in it; we were obviously disappointed with the goal we conceded, but we showed a huge amount of character to come back into the game just before half-time and in the second half our performance deserved the win.

“The consistency has been there from the team. We have now just lost four games in 26 and we have to turn the draws into wins if we are going to get to where we want to get to and what we will do is take each game at a time, try and win as many games as possible – with some big games coming up – and that will test us, but we will do everything we can to win them.”

That ‘unusual’ team selection was forced with the PNE chief unable to select four regular right backs, as he explained: “I looked at how to set up over the last couple of days and it was difficult given that I didn’t really want to play square pegs in round holes, because we were dealt a blow where Marnick had his operation on Wednesday and then Tyias got injured in training, ruling him out for six weeks – with Alex Baptiste and Calum Woods already ruled out.

“It was a difficult decision to make and I thought going with the 3-4-3 might not be defensively as strong as normal, but with Robinson, Hugill, McGeady and the wing backs, we still had an opportunity to win the game.

“But when you change the system like that you want to do as much work as possible to prepare, but we didn’t have the players until as late as this morning. Paul Huntington came through a fitness test on Friday morning.

“We made a decision to change it at half-time and ultimately it paid dividends with the performance and the result in the second half.”

Once again Irish star McGeady stole the show, with another stunner from distance and it could have been even more.

“When we signed Aiden we mentioned that he was one of those types of players that we were missing; our players had been very good and hard-working, but we wanted someone with that x-factor and players like that are few and far between,” continued Simon.

“He has showed his great quality again today, as he did two weeks ago against Brentford, with his two goals and we are delighted to have him.

“On another day he could have had a few more goals, given the opportunities that he had and the team had, but it was great character and spirit from the team to come from behind again and that’s a good trait to have, because it shows they are not prepared to accept that they are going to draw or lose a game, they want to go and win as many games as possible and they have won another today.”

And the fact it didn’t end three, four or five was down to someone he knows well in Alex Smithies, but feels his side must take the chances they are creating.

“Alex, who I know well from my time at Huddersfield, made a number of fine saves, but Jordan did well with his movement and got the shot off and then reacted first and got the second goal, giving us the opportunity and platform to win the game.

“It is disappointing that we didn’t put ourselves out of sight. You don’t want to go into the latter stages only 2-1 up given the chances that we had. Credit to Alex with some great saves, but the luxury of a third and fourth would have been a great way to finish off a really good second half performance,” he added.

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