A good road trip says PNE boss

Daniel Johnson is congratulated after scoring for PNE at Ipswich

Daniel Johnson is congratulated after scoring for PNE at Ipswich

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Simon Grayson was happy with Preston North End’s return of four points from the six on offer in their two long-distance away games.

Tuesday night’s 2-1 win at Bristol City was followed-up with the 1-1 draw with Ipswich Town at Portman Road on Saturday.

Daniel Johnson gave North End the lead in the seventh minute, netting at the second attempt after being played in by Eoin Doyle.

That was the midfielder’s eighth goal of the season and 16th in Preston colours since signing a year ago.

The visitors went on to put in an impressive first-half performance but were pegged back in the 38th minute by Daryl Murphy’s equaliser.

Ben Pearson had the ball in the net in the second period after playing a fine one-two with Doyle but the flag went up for offside to rule it out.

PNE manager Grayson said: “I thought we performed really well.

“It was a different type of game than sometimes you get, you have to stand-up to sides managed by Mick McCarthy because they are well organised and hard working.

“You have to win second balls, deal with balls up to Daryl Murphy at times but also deal with the pace they have out wide.

“We started the game really well, got the goal and created some other chances.

“After that we looked like we could go on and get another goal.

“Ipswich then scored a good goal before half-time and you can see why they are doing well because they keep asking questions of your players.

“Everyone of our players did a fantastic job and it was a well-deserved point against a side who reached the play-offs last season.

“On another day, we might have got all three.”

North End were without their skipper Tom Clarke, the defender pulling-up with an injury in the warm-up less than 30 minutes before kick-off.

His place went to Calum Woods who had initially been named as a substitute, with Preston having six players on the bench instead of seven.

In Clarke’s absence, Paul Gallagher was captain.

Grayson said: “Tom just tweaked his groin two minutes before we finished the warm-up.

“Tom was going to play at right-back so we put Calum Woods in there who did a really good job.

“Our two centre-halves were very good, so too the full-backs against some talented players.

“It has been a good week, getting the three points at Bristol City which set us up nicely to play Ipswich.

“We keep building with every game we are involved in, the players have just got to believe in themselves a little bit more in order to keep progressing up the table.”

Grayson had kept his players in the south between the two games this week, doing similar in October when they had away games at Charlton and Brighton.