Grayson’s joy at statement win against leaders

North End boss Simon Grayson salutes the fans on Saturday

North End boss Simon Grayson salutes the fans on Saturday

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Preston North End boss Simon Grayson said his side put the Championship on notice by knocking Brighton off top spot.

The Seagulls were unbeaten in 18 games before going down 2-0 at Deepdale thanks to goals from Paul Huntington and Callum Robinson.

The victory, that helped Newcastle reach the summit, also saw PNE move up to ninth in the table.

“I tipped Brighton before the game to win the division because I think they’re that good.” said Grayson.

“They’ve got plenty of discipline, organisation and fantastic quality.

“We nullified that a lot and that’s a tremendous statement from our players.

“We did challenge them before the game to go and replicate the performance from last week against Arsenal and build on what we’re doing.

“It’s a case of seeing where the results take us and that’s what we’ll be doing over the next few weeks.”

It was performance that saw players impress from back to front.

Grayson was particularly pleased with his defence, led by Huntington and captain Tom Clarke in the middle.

“The two centre-halves were very good,” the PNE boss said.

“Greg Cunningham played Anthony Knockaert very well and Marnick Vermijl had a bit of a groin issue just before half-time but soldiered through the second half.

“There were some great performances.

“You could talk about them all and what they brought to the team.

“Ultimately it’s about how hard they work for each other to get the result.”

The goals came at crucial times, Huntington giving PNE a good platform 13 minutes in as he headed home Paul Gallagher’s centre, before Robinson doubled the advantage shortly after half-time, the winger holding off Seagulls skipper Bruno to score.

“When Gallagher’s got that delivery he can put it in an area where people get in amongst it,” said Grayson.

“I thought the second goal was a great goal, it was a great ball from Daryl Horgan to find Callum and he did well.

“A lot of other players might have gone down under the pressure and probably got the lad sent off. But he stayed on his feet and finished it off.”