Grayson backs arrested PNE players

Preston North End's Manager Simon Grayson

Preston North End's Manager Simon Grayson

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Preston North End boss Simon Grayson says he is ‘100%’ behind the PNE players who were arrested over allegations of spot-fixing.

John Welsh, David Buchanan, Bailey Wright and Keith Keane, together with Graham Cummins and Ben Davies who are out on loan, were questioned by officers from the National Crime Agency on Thursday and released on bail until June.

Welsh, Buchanan and Wright all started North End’s 1-1 draw with Bristol City at Ashton Gate on Saturday, with Keane an unused substitute.

In his post-match press conference, Grayson said: “First and foremost it was a shock on Thursday with the news and things that followed.

“My personal point of view is that the players are innocent until proven guilty.

“I will back them 100%. I spoke to each individual on Friday when they came back into training and spoke to them again on Saturday morning about their mindset and are they ready to play.

“They have assured me 100% that they have no involvement in this, and I will take their word.

“People will have to prove that they are guilty in this situation.

“The players know that if they are lying through their teeth and they are guilty, then the consequences will follow.

“But I’m certainly 100% behind these players. I have got a really good group here and it was a huge surprise on Thursday.

“I have backed them today, playing three of them out of the four.

“All the decisions were for football reason today in picking the team.

“It has not been easy and I will give a lot of credit to those individuals because it hasn’t been easy for them.

“They showed what good professionals they are by being focused on the game.

“I have got 100% faith that they will be proved innocent.”