PNE boss’s faith is well placed

PNE boss Simon Grayson pictured at Rotherham in midweek

PNE boss Simon Grayson pictured at Rotherham in midweek

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Simon Grayson believes his Preston North End players are repaying the faith that he has shown in them.

The PNE team which has begun the new season in the Championship is predominantly the same one which swept to promotion from League One.

Question marks were hanging over some of the players as to whether they were able to reproduce the same form at the higher level.

Grayson had no doubts that many of his squad were capable of stepping up and competing in the Championship and was quick to offer them new deals.

It appears the manager’s faith was well placed, judging by the way they have handled the opening three league games.

A deserved point against highly-fancied Middlesbrough on the opening weekend of the season at Deepdale was followed by a return of four points from two tricky away tests at MK Dons and Rotherham United.

The players have another chance to impress tomorrow when early-season leaders Ipswich Town arrive in town.

“The players who were at the end of their contracts last year were maybe wondering, because we are in the Championship, whether they were going to get new deals or not,” Grayson said.

“But I have given them that belief and confidence by giving those that stayed new deals because I thought they could compete and perform in the Championship.

“They should have that belief anyway and the results so far have highlighted that. They have to keep doing the good things that have got them to where they are but not get over-confident.

“But obviously they have got to keep having that belief that they can produce performances.”

The PNE boss is urging his players and the supporters to savour the next week or so.

After the visit of the Tractor Boys, North End make the trip Hull – currently in second spot in the table – the following weekend.

Sandwiched in between that is the visit of Premier League new boys Watford to Deepdale in the second round of the Capital One Cup.

“We have got a tough week coming up,” Grayson said.

“When you look at the table, we have got Ipswich and Hull – first and second – in consecutive weekends.

“Then we have got a Premier League team in the cup.

“But it’s what we have worked hard for last season, to be involved in these games.”

North End are expected to be at full strength tomorrow against Mick McCarthy’s men – with a possible return for striker Jermaine Beckford.

“Jermaine’s making progress, although I keep saying that every week,” Grayson said.

“But we know with Mick’s teams – they are going to be hard working, organised and disciplined.

“They were in the play-offs last year, so we know we are in for a tough test.”