PNE players to be put through their paces on Christmas Day

Last Christmas...Huddersfield Town's Harry Bunn shields the ball from Tom Clarke
Last Christmas...Huddersfield Town's Harry Bunn shields the ball from Tom Clarke
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Preston North End’s players will be in for training on Christmas Day as Simon Grayson looks for an improvement on a dismal Boxing Day showing 12 months ago.

The Lilywhites went down 3-1 at an improving Huddersfield last season on one of the more disappointing days of a largely positive campaign.

Leeds United head to Deepdale this time around with Grayson relishing playing in front a near packed house against one of his former clubs.

“We’ll be in this year,” said the PNE boss.

“Huddersfield was probably at the back of my mind given the result and performance when thinking about this year.

“That’s not to say there was anything wrong with the preparation.

“It was a lot down to how Huddersfield played on the day and they’ve built on that performance this season.

“From my own point of view I think it’s just the right thing to have us in and what a better way to have Boxing Day than it being not far off a sell out at Deepdale.”

Despite his decision to bring his players in Grayson believes there’s no hard and fast rule when it comes to training or not on December 25.

The session at Springfields will be concentrated with players then trusted to behave themselves with the usual Christmas temptations on offer when they return home.

“There are different ways of dealing with it,” said Grayson.

“As a player and as a manager I’ve been in on Christmas Day and lost, been off Christmas Day and lost, been in on Christmas Day and won and been off Christmas Day and won.

“There’s no right way or wrong way of doing it.

“All we’re going to do is the right preparation for us to do.

“It will be a short, sharp session.”

Ultimately for Grayson though Christmas Day is work time with one benefit that players and management will be at home Christmas Day night rather than in a hotel as they would have been for an away trip.

The PNE boss is looking to upset Garry Monk’s fifth-placed side, Leeds having won seven of their last nine games to move up into the Championship play-off places after a slow start under the former Swansea manager.

“Everybody in the football knows it’s our work time and they’re the sacrifices you have to make,” said the PNE boss.

“I’ve very wary that players want to spend time with their families, of course they do.

“But ultimately they’re getting paid to work on Christmas Day and hopefully it will help us to a good result.

“The good thing is we’re at home so the players will spend Christmas Day night at home with their families.

“If we’d been on a long distance journey we’d have been in hotels so they’ve been lucky in that respect.”