PNE looking to make home advantage count

Kevin Davies
Kevin Davies
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Simon Grayson wants his Preston North End side to make home advantage count in their three successive games at Deepdale.

They kick-off that trilogy tonight against Leyton Orient in front of the Sky Sports cameras (7.45pm).

On Tuesday, the Lilywhites host Yeovil in a rearranged league fixture, before Sheffield United visit in the FA Cup a week tomorrow.

After defeats to Walsall and the Blades, it is important for North End to rediscover that winning feeling.

PNE manager Grayson told the Evening Post: “The players don’t get carried away with wins and don’t get too down when they are beaten.

“There is a determination to try and put things right after the two defeats and we have a great opportunity in the next week or so to do that.

“We have got three home games and we would like three victories.

“If we were to get those we would possibly have closed the gap on the sides above us and also got to the next round of the FA Cup.

“When I look back at the last two games, had it not been for the Walsall keeper being in inspired form, we would have been going into the second leg with a healthy lead.

“I was disappointed with the result because there was no way we should have lost 2-0.

“Last Saturday at Bramall Lane there was not much in it against a Sheffield United side up there with us in the top six.

“We limited them to few opportunities but we could have been a little bit better in our attacking play.”

Sam Johnstone will make his North End debut this evening, having joined on loan from Manchester United this week.

That will see Thorsten Stuckmann dislodged from between the posts after a 12-game run.

If Kevin Davies plays at any point, it will be the striker’s 800th career game.

Grayson felt that bringing in Johnstone was too good an opportunity to turn down.

He said: “We looked at him in the summer but couldn’t get him then. At the back end of last week we got the call from the owner to give us the go-ahead so we went and did it.

“Sam is a very good keeper with a bright future.

“When someone becomes available who can hopefully help take us to the next level and has the pedigree he has got, you go and do it.

“There has been a lot of positivity about Sam’s signing in terms of how he performed while at Doncaster and what he can do in the future here.”

The transfer window is open until February 2 and Grayson wants to do more business.

“I see us being linked with various people, that we are after X,Y and Z,” said Grayson.

“We will try and keep our business under wraps and do it when we feel it is the right time to do so.

“At the stage we are at, any players we bring in are going to have to be very close to going straight into the starting XI.

“It is no point bringing in squad players.”

Playing this evening will suit North End in terms of getting ready for the Yeovil game.

Grayson added: “We’ve not had to change much this week and we will have the extra time for recovery before Yeovil.”