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First Team News

Simon Grayson On The Fight For The ‘Golden Ticket’

30 March 2017

Preston North End manager Simon Grayson spoke about the battle for the Play-Off places ahead of his side returning to action after the international break.

The Lilywhites face Nottingham Forest in the first game of a mini eight game campaign, where the team must make up a five point gap if they are to finish in the top six, but the gaffer believes the pressure is on his side’s rivals as they try and upset the expected order.

“It is tough because we are playing catch up on the teams above us,” Simon said ahead of the visit of the Red. “But the one thing we have in our advantage is that there is so much pressure on those teams in the top six at this moment in time to stay there and one or two teams in and around us who have to get there as well.

“We don’t have to get there; we want to get there, but we are under no pressure and no financial trouble if we don’t, whereas a lot of teams, if they don’t get the golden ticket it might have implications for the future for them.

“We will continue to have the same mantra we have had over the last few weeks, concentrate on what we can do, try and play positive football and try and win as many games as possible and see where that takes us.

“We have got games on paper that certainly look tough, against teams at the top and the bottom, but that is the Championship for you week in and week out. We have eight games to go and enjoy and express ourselves and who knows what could be around the corner for us all.

“We are not putting any pressure on ourselves by saying that if we don’t win at the weekend that is the Play-Offs out of reach for us. We will just concentrate on each game, one at a time. Of course everyone will be looking at all the potential outcomes and who is playing who, that is just part and parcel of football at this stage of the season, whatever division you are in, but there is more pressure on other teams than there is on us. We will try to keep the confidence and belief going, playing with the quality we have shown in the last few weeks to see if we can get some results and we are looking forward to it.”

The City Ground outfit have had two weeks to work with new manager Mark Warburton over the extended gap between games and the PNE chief is impressed with the quality at the disposal of the Forest boss and his staff.

“Both the next two opponents have underachieved big time,” he continued looking at both the clash with Forest and Tuesday’s visitors to PR1, Bristol City. “Both teams have spent a lot of money and would have had aspirations last summer to be chasing the top six and not be in the bottom six.

“They are both fighting for their lives to get as many points as possible.

“Mark has gone in to Forest and will have found a really good selection of players. Looking at the squad list they have some very good players. Some might be injured, but others might be back this weekend and they have a host of talent to choose from.

“We know it is going to be a tough game; they will be fighting for their lives, but they will also realise they are in for a tough game. We are fighting for every point, we will look forward to it, embrace it and see where it takes us by 5pm on Saturday and then move on to the next one.”


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