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First Team News

Gaffer Pleased With Options

26 January 2017

With Ben Pearson back from suspension this weekend, manager Simon Grayson is happy to have some tough decisions to make ahead Saturday.

Since the midfielder picked up his tenth booking of the season, North End have beaten Brighton & Hove Albion at home and picked up a valuable point at Villa Park.
The gaffer has seen his side produce some terrific performances without a number of key players with  Ben Pearson, Greg Cunningham and Alex Baptiste missing for the trip to Villa. The strenght in depth within the squad has been as evident as ever in recent weeks and that is something that pleases the PNE boss. 
"When we lost Ben Pearson through suspension you are thinking right we are losing one of our better players, but ultimately we went to Villa and picked up a point and then got three against Brighton so it wasn't too bad! 
"Lads have come into the squad and done very well. Alan Browne as an example, comes in and out and does a great job for us. They are different types of players, all you want is good players available and those players who have been out suspended, if they come back into the team they will pick up from where they left off. 
"That will be the same for Ben, Greg Cunningham when he becomes available for the Cardiff game so we will have to wait and see who I decide to pick from those available. 
With a quick turnaround of games on the horizon, that strength in depth could be tested even further. North End faced Bury on Tuesday in a behind-closed-doors game, something that the gaffer feels will benefit those involved going into the next run of games. 
"It's important that we keep all of the players ready, we work hard on the training ground but sometimes they need a good 90 minutes under their belt because of the different types of runs that you have to make and the legs do get tired going into those last 15 minutes or so. 
"You could see on Tuesday that one or two of them needed that 90 minutes so it was great for them to get that, good for Andy Boyle to get accquainted with his teammates in a matchday situation but ultimately it was a good performance and good work rate from the players and they will all benefit from that."
With focus now on the weekend's game against Ipswich Town, manager Simon Grayson doesn't feel the pressure on his opposite number Mick McCarthy will play any part on Saturday.
"You know when you are playing Mick's teams that they are going to be hard to beat, they will be organised, disciplined, hard working and you know your players will have to earn the right to win those three points if that is to be the case. 
"You have got to make sure you compete with them, pass the ball quickly and take chances when they come along. 
"We are certainly aware of what Mick's team will be all about, he's brought a couple of new faces in in the last ten days or so but ultimately we could also be trying to get three points for himself in terms of continuing that hard work to keep Ipswich moving up the table. 
"People are talking about him being under a little bit of pressure but that is water off a duck's back to someone like Mick. He will be doing his utmost to make sure that his team go out and get three points."

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