Exclusive Sean Gregan PNE column

Joe Garner shields the ball from Wolves players George Saville and Ethan Ebanks-Landell at Molineux
Joe Garner shields the ball from Wolves players George Saville and Ethan Ebanks-Landell at Molineux
Share this article
3
Have your say

There are certain stadiums where teams do well at and Molineux has traditionally been a happy hunting ground for Preston North End.

When I was at PNE, we beat Wolves at their place two Boxing Days running.

In the first of those games, I was ‘marking’ the Wolves keeper at a corner and a shot from David Healy came my way – it hit my very ample backside and went in!

I think the following year, it was a goal from Iain Anderson which gave us the win.

Back to the present and the win for North End on Saturday was a very good one.

It took them above Wolves in the Championship and they are now in 11th place.

Bearing in mind that PNE briefly dropped to the bottom of the table in October, to see them so high up in the middle of February is excellent going.

The attitude now should be to crack on and see how high they can finish. I’m not saying the play-offs but why not get in the top 10 or just above?

In a division where some clubs are throwing huge amounts of money at it to try and get in the Premier League, North End’s current position cannot be sniffed at.

The higher up the table they can finish this season, the more attractive proposition they will be in the transfer market in the summer.

If a team stays up by the skin of their teeth, a transfer target might not fancy going there, thinking it might be another relegation scrap.

But if you are in the top half, players will be thinking. ‘They might have a chance of doing something’.

Later this week, Simon Grayson will have been in the Preston job for three years.

For me, Grayson has done really well and deserves so much praise.

Every season, North End have made progress with him in charge and that is what you want from a manager.

Having been a manager for 10 years, Grayson now falls into the ‘experienced’ section, especially with how quickly they come and go these days.

He started off at a smaller club in Blackpool, then went to the monster which is Leeds.

Huddersfield was a good sized club to manage and since 2013, he’s been at North End.

Grayson will be the first to praise the backroom staff he has around him. Glynn Snodin is a very experienced figure.

When you see managers lasting just a few months in charge at some clubs, Grayson probably qualifies for a gold carriage clock this week!

I read this week that 40 out of 92 clubs had this season changed managers, which is incredible. There is no patience in the game at the moment, clubs look very short-term and panic at the first hint of trouble.

What happened at Derby last week, with them sacking Paul Clement after eight months, was a strange one.

The chairman spoke of wanting to play the ‘Derby way’ and that promotion was not the priority. After spending all that money, I find that statement a hard one to work out.

What would the fans prefer there, playing the ‘Derby way’ and staying down or winning a few games ugly and getting promotion?

Looking from the outside, it seems that Clement going was probably more down to a clash of personalities rather than anything else.

Lastly, my club Darlington had a right old battle against Salford on Saturday.

We were 2-0 and 3-1 down but came to back to win 4-3 with a very late goal.

The Salford joint managers can be a bit fiery but so can the Darlo boss – unbelievably, I was the calmest there!