PNE one step from Wembley

Simon Grayson
Simon Grayson
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  • North End will go all out for victory on Sunday against Chesterfield
  • Boss Simon Grayson urges fans to create a fantastic atmosphere inside Deepdale
  • Winners will meet either Swindon or Sheffield United in play-off final at Wembley
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Preston North End will go all out for victory in the second leg of their play-off semi-final against Chesterfield, according to Simon Grayson.

The Lilywhites take a 1-0 lead into tomorrow’s clash at Deepdale, an advantage which PNE boss Grayson wants to increase.

While victory at the Proact Stadium on Thursday night was achieved with an early goal followed by a strong rearguard action, the approach should be different in the return game.

Grayson said: “We won’t go into the game looking to just protect the lead.

“We have a 1-0 advantage and I think the next goal in the tie will be important.

“If we can get it, that would be a massive boost for us and would make things difficult for Chesterfield.

“We are certainly going out to win the game and are not contemplating drawing it just to protect what we have.

“It will be key to have the ground as full as possible.

“On Thursday night even though the crowd was only 8,000, it was a fantastic atmosphere.

“You could see Chesterfield respond to their home fans and it will be the same for us here on Sunday.

“If we can get something similar to what we did against Swindon, that would be brilliant.

“When Deepdale is rocking it creates a fantastic atmosphere.

“It is a good place to play and I’m sure people will turn out in their numbers tomorrow lunchtime.”

A tight turnaround between play-off legs this year meant a recovery session for the squad yesterday before going through their final preparations this morning at Springfields.

Television schedules have meant a squeezed schedule, although there will be longer than normal for the semi-final winners to prepare for the Wembley final.

“Previously you would play the first leg the weekend after the end of the season and the second leg in the following midweek,” said Grayson.

“Things are all dictated by the television companies and we have to get on with that.

“The games are close but it is the same for both teams and we will be as fresh mentally and physically as possible.

“We want to be fresh to try and finish off the job, we have given ourselves that chance by winning the first leg.

“As a team we have to show the same sort of effort, work rate and discipline as we did on Thursday night.

“Hopefully we will get more of the ball. Chesterfield as the home side in the first leg took the game to us.

“They played a lot of football in front is us without hurting us too much.

“Although they had a lot of possession, we had the same amount of shots on target.”

Grayson wants to see a bit more of Paul Gallagher and Daniel Johnson in midfield areas than of late.

Much of the tackling has been done by John Welsh in recent games, with the other two not imposing themselves as much.

“Tackling is not their natural game, they are footballers who want to get the ball and pass it around,” said Grayson.

“John Welsh will steam into tackles and is probably not as good on the ball as the other two lads.

“What you can do as a midfielder if you are not a strong tackler is to get tight on people and stop them playing.

“Maybe DJ and Gally haven’t done that as well as they can do.

“They have probably not played as well on the ball as well, we want them to be better in that respect because they are good players.

“DJ has been okay in the last couple of games rather than where we want him to be.”