Boss praises PNE’s ‘A’ team

North End's players applaud the travelling fans at the end of the match
North End's players applaud the travelling fans at the end of the match
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Simon Grayson felt that all of his Preston North End players produced their “A game”when holding Championship side Nottingham Forest to a goalless draw in Friday night’s FA Cup fourth-round tie.

PNE turned in a strong performance at the City Ground and went close in the final stages to causing an upset.

Substitutes Iain Hume and Jack King both forced saves from Forest keeper Karl Darlow late on, and young midfielder Josh Brownhill almost snatched victory right at the death with a free-kick which Darlow got a glove to at full stretch.

The display delighted PNE’s 2,055 travelling fans, many of who had taken advantage of cut-price coach travel laid on by the club.

It is back to Deepdale a week on Tuesday for the replay, which means the scheduled home league game with Rotherham that night has been postponed.

The draw for the fifth round takes place on Sunday live on ITV.

Lilywhites boss Grayson said: “We knew we had to be organised and the players had to produce their ‘A game’.

“Probably all of the players out there played their A game and put in a very disciplined performance.

“They were competitive against a very good team.

“Forest have internationals and players with Premier League experience in their side, and I thought we more than matched them.

“Our back four played really well, the two centre-halves did exactly what we asked them to and the full-backs supported them.

“Everyone carried out the instructions and we got our rewards by getting the draw and going into the hat for the fifth round.

“That is what we wanted – to still be in the hat – and there could be a massive incentive when we go into the replay.

“I would think that we will still be the underdogs because of what Forest have got.

“I’m sure they will come up to Deepdale and try and win the game.

“We both have important league games before then, but the replay will mean more good exposure for our club and financial benefit.”

North End restricted Forest to just one decent shot on target, that coming early in the game.

And overall, Grayson felt the replay was a deserved reward for their night’s work.

“The only save which Declan Rudd had to make was in the first 10 minutes or so,” said Grayson.

“We went on to work their goalkeeper perhaps half a dozen times.

“In the FA Cup you are always going to get underdogs and upsets, and had we won this would have been an upset with Forest being in the Championship and us in League One.

“We can be proud of how we competed and I thought Forest showed us a lot of respect on the night.

“They put out what was probably their strongest side available and they changed their shape during the game.

“There were some great individual performances from us and we worked hard all over the pitch.

“Towards the end we made changes to try and push on to win the game, I didn’t want to settle for a draw.

“We had chances and just couldn’t get on the end of a couple of rebounds after their keeper had made saves.”