Business as usual says PNE boss

Joe Garner tussles for possession with Rochdale's Scott Tanser
Joe Garner tussles for possession with Rochdale's Scott Tanser
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Simon Grayson will look for Preston North End to be more decisive against Swindon tomorrow night after seeing their winning run ended by Rochdale at the weekend.

The 3-0 defeat at Spotland came after eight victories in a row and nine games unbeaten.

While disappointed with the manner in which his side played against Dale in front of 2,844 travelling fans, there was no hairdrier blast aimed at the players by PNE boss Grayson.

All the focus instead was on making sure things were put right for another long Tuesday night trip.

Grayson said: “We will dust ourselves down and go again at Swindon.

“There was no ranting and raving in the dressing room after Saturday’s game. We were constructive in what we needed to tell them and the recovery ahead of the Swindon game started straight away.

“Whatever team we put out tomorrow night, we have to do better than we did against Rochdale.

“The lads know that they didn’t produce a performance at the weekend.

“You are never going to go through the season without any setbacks and it is all about how you react to the setbacks when they happen.

“We get back on it at Swindon. This is a demanding schedule but we need to try and put things right.”

Two goals in a three-minute spell around the half-hour mark left North End chasing the game against a Rochdale side who were better in most areas of the pitch.

The hosts scored their third goal just beyond the hour at a time when Grayson’s men were having their best spell of the contest, that goal having an element of controversy about it as Matthew Done seemed to kick the ball out of goalkeeper Jamie Jones’ hands.

Joe Garner missed a 76th-minute penalty – awarded after he been had felled in the box – and meant North End failed to score in a game for the first time since April.

Said Grayson: “There were things which we could have done a lot better with.

“My concern when coming to play Rochdale was that they would try and play through us and open us up with the extra bodies they have in midfield.

“That wasn’t the case, their keeper got it and we didn’t deal with the long balls from him, didn’t win the first ball and we let it bounce.

“All three of their goals were stoppable I felt.

“It was probably the first time I have seen us be a little bit disorganised as a back four, or a back three, as it was for quite a lot of the game – there was a lot of indecision.

“We knew Rochdale would play with a diamond shape in midfield and have their two strikers going really wide.

“I didn’t think our back four really understood it or could cope with it, so that is why we changed in the first half to three at the back.

“That way their strikers who pulled wide would come on to our wide centre-backs.

“It worked to a degree and it was a case of who would get the third goal in the game.

“Had we got back to 2-1 it would have been interesting but unfortunately Rochdale scored the third against the run of play at the time as we were having a good spell.”