PNE and Rams chasing first league win

PNE boss Simon Grayson
PNE boss Simon Grayson
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Preston North End’s clash with Derby County at Deepdale on Tuesday night will see both sides attempting to put their first Championship win of the season on the board.

While PNE have lost both games in the league, the Rams are only a point better off.

They shared a goalless draw with Brighton on the opening day of the campaign and were beaten 2-0 at Barnsley on Saturday.

In between was a 1-0 victory over Grimsby in the EFL Cup.

For a club which reached the play-of semi-finals in May and boast one of the division’s biggest budgets, the slow start is something of a surprise.

PNE boss Simon Grayson says it is far too early to form judgements about any team, however well or poorly they have started.

“They won’t be panicking at Derby because they have only got one point,” said Grayson.

“Derby have a strong group of players and a new manager in Nigel Pearson who has a wealth of experience of getting teams promoted from this division.

“Nothing is won on the first day of the season, nor the second or third.”

Rams boss Pearson, who was appointed at the end of May, is yet to make a dip into the transfer market.

But he inherited an expensively-assembled squad with players such as Darren Bent, Tom Ince, Bradley Johnson, Jeff Hendrick and Nick Blackman available to him.

Bent and Blackman started up front together at the weekend, with Chris Martin replacing Bent at half-time.

Said Grayson: “Nigel has not signed anyone yet but if someone had told that he would have had the squad he has available to him to start the season, he would have been pleased.

“It is a very strong squad, you can see that just by looking at the bench and who has not made the 18.”

Pearson was not happy with Derby’s defeat at Barnsley and will be looking for a response at Deepdale.

“I don’t enjoy afternoons like that,” said Pearson.

“ There are no excuses; we under-performed and didn’t really play as a team.

“Now is not the time to be over critical though.

“Change is sometimes a difficult thing to manage your way through.

“A lot of the players in this group are on ground where they’ve been before and it’s about getting a positive response from what has been a disappointing result, for sure, and certainly a disappointing performance.

“We have a few psychological issues and a few players are out of form.

“We have to find a way out of it and I have to manage the group through that.

“I don’t like it when we have a good following and we let our fans down.

“We don’t want to let anyone down.”