Let’s make it three on the spin – PNE boss

Preston North End striker  Will Keane
Preston North End striker Will Keane
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Simon Grayson wants to turn back-to-back wins into three on the bounce when Preston North End host Birmingham City at Deepdale tonight.

Victories over Burnley and Reading have lifted the Lilywhites up to 16th place, with them currently closer to the top six than the bottom three in terms of points.

A win over Gary Rowett’s side would send the Lilywhites into the Christmas period – starting at Leeds on Sunday – in good heart.

PNE boss Grayson said: “It was good to win against Reading and we want to build on it and get more victories.

“If we can get another win against Birmingham, then it would set us up nicely for Christmas.

“In this division you have to stay focused, not get carried away with yourselves and learn from every game.

“We need to take the confidence and belief we have got from the last few games into the ones ahead.

“From start to finish we played well against Reading and another day, it could have been 3-0 or 4-0.”

It is a fair bet that Grayson will stick with the same side which saw off Reading for the visit of Birmingham.

A more attack-minded 4-3-3 kept North End on the front foot, Will Keane and Adam Reach working either side of Joe Garner.

At the other end of the pitch, a flat back four helped keep a 43rd clean sheet in the last 86 matches.

“Hopefully we can keep the clean sheets coming and it becomes 44 in 87,” said Grayson.

“We changed systems at the weekend and I was pleased with how we played that way.

“No matter what system we put out, the players have to replicate the performance and even take it on to the next level.

“This will be a tough game against a side who are good at playing counter-attacking football.”

Grayson doesn’t mind changing between formations, praising the flexibility of his squad which allows him to.

In the recent away games at Fulham and Burnley he had gone with a 3-5-2, the switch to a 4-3-3 being one he thought would suit them at home.

“I’m really open to what we have got here, formations are very much dictated by the players you have available,” said Grayson.

“We’ve been looking for a way of playing at home to be a bit more expansive and turn draws into victories.

“We are not set in our ways here, some side will play the same way week in, week out.

“What we have is the players to adapt if we need to.”

North End are waiting for a progress report on Chris Humphrey’s shin injury.

Grayson said: “Chris was told by the specialist to let the injury calm down. He’s had an X-ray and we’re going to see where we are with him.”