Preston North End manager Simon Grayson is looking for another memorable Gentry Day as the clubs’ fans don their bowler hats and suits for a trip to the capital.
“Our support away from home has been fantastic,” he said ahead of the clash with the Cottagers. “They have been there in their numbers every game, but this is a way of celebrating that is unique to Preston North End and seeing everyone in their suits and bowler hats is fantastic.
“Let’s hope once again we have a chance for someone to capture a picture of a player celebrating in a bowler hat as they have done in the last couple of years.”
The game is the first of three vital matches in the next week, with ninth-placed North End facing Fulham in seventh, Derby in 11th and Reading Currently fifth – all sides who will have expectation rather than hope of making the Play-Offs.
So the manager is well aware of what a good week could do to his own side’s hopes of finishing in the top six: “We took seven points out of nine the last time we had three games in a week and that was a good return,” he continued. “This week we aim to at least achieve the same, but we are playing teams around us and that will for a large part dictate the rest of the season.
“Regardless of the results in these three games, there are still going to be plenty of twists and turns. There are already people working our who X, Y and Z have to play, who is going to pick up points here there and everywhere, but ultimately we can’t affect what everyone else does.
“We just have to go to Fulham at the weekend, do the best that we can, try and get three points, do the recovery, go to Derby and then Reading after that. They are all significant, but there is always an added significance when you know you are playing against the teams around you.
“We can’t affect what is happening in any other game other than our own and that will be the same from now until the end of the season. What we will do is go down to Fulham, against a very strong team with aspirations to get into the Play-Offs themselves and try and give a good account of ourselves. We want to keep up the run we have been on – individually and collectively the performances have been good, so let’s keep that going and see where it takes us.
“There is no real pressure on us to get there, but there is pressure on us from ourselves of what we want to achieve as a group.”
The opposition on the banks of the Rivers Thames are a Fulham side who themselves have been on fine form of late and a period of stability at the Cottage has made a big difference to them, as Simon explained.
“There is always a big transition period when a club comes out of the Premier League. Teams don’t always find it that easy to go straight back up and if you don’t do it at the first attempt there can be a big turnaround of players, which gives that process a longer time period to get things right.
“However, you look at Slavisa Jokanovic’s time at Fulham and you can see that he has made progress and moved the team forward all the time.
“They are one of the best teams in the division in terms of keeping the ball, with their possession stats. They have threats up front and they are doing a lot of good things, hence they are in the position that they are.
“We know we have a really tough game, but I am sure they are looking at it thinking the same. We have some threats and they might be thinking about what they have to do to stop us playing that’s the respect we have earned over the last few months of the season.
“The better you are doing as individuals and as a team, the opposition know that if they don’t do the right things, then we can cause a lot of damage to teams. We will keep working hard, keep doing the basics right and ultimately it will be down to whether we can take the chances when they come along and punish the teams we are playing against in the next few weeks.
“We will be setting out to win the game and they certainly don’t sit back, they push the bodies forward and on Gentry Day with 3,000 Preston fans down there, hopefully it is another day like like year where we went to Bolton, got a great result and everybody connected with the club enjoyed it,” he added.
Are you a social media user? Make sure you use #GentryDay for any mentions of the day or photos on Twitter or if you’re a Snapchat user, watch out for our Geo Filter available inside the ground for all your pictures of the day – our Twitter handle is @pnefc and follow us on Snapchat ‘pnefcofficial’.