Battle of the mind at New York Stadium

reston midfielder Ben Pringle is set to face his former club Rotherham

reston midfielder Ben Pringle is set to face his former club Rotherham

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Simon Grayson believes that Preston’s visit to Rotherham will be as much of a challenge mentally as it is physically.

The visit to the Millers, who prop up the table, comes on the back of the recent run of matches against the Championship’s big-hitters.

Last month, PNE won against big-spending Aston Villa, drew with Brighton and then beat Huddersfield and Norwich.

They were on the wrong end of a 6-0 defeat by Newcastle in the League Cup, before giving the Magpies a run for their money last week at Deepdale.

Now they head to the New York Stadium looking to take three points into the latest international break.

Lilywhites manager Grayson said: “We can be really pleased with last month’s results.

“Had we got something out of the Newcastle game, it would have been even better.

“We now have to make sure we finish this group of games with a good result – we don’t want to undo the hard work of the last few weeks.

“You get the same amount of points for beating a side at the top or the bottom.

“This is a big game mentally for us – we have to be right.

“We are not big-time Charlies or anything who think we just have to stroll into town to get three points.

“As a team, we have to earn anything we get.

“Rotherham have a new manager in Kenny Jackett, an experienced manager with his own ideas. Kenny has gone in there thinking he has a group of players who can get results.

“He has got plenty of games to turn things around, like Neil Warnock did last season.

“It is always a tough place to go and we have to be ready for the challenge.”

North End midfielder Ben Pringle is set to face one of his former clubs tomorrow.

He made 168 appearances for the Millers in a four-year stay in South Yorkshire.

Grayson’s selection options for the engine room tomorrow have been restricted by suspensions for Ben Pearson and Alan Browne, and John Welsh’s calf injury.

He still has Pringle, Daniel Johnson, Paul Gallagher and Liam Grimshaw to choose from but admits being without three midfielders is not ideal.

“All three of them had been doing well,” said Grayson.

“John was a key player until he got injured, Alan Browne had played a lot of football, while Ben Pearson has been man of the match in a lot of the recent games.

“We are fortunate to have six or seven midfielders in the squad and are well 
covered.

“But we don’t want to be in the position too many times when we are without players in one position.

“Different players can go in there, it just depends on the system we play.”

Aiden McGeady could be back after a hamstring injury, while Jermaine Beckford and Marnick Vermijl came through a training-ground game this week.