PNE boss to rally the troops

Sylvain Ebanks-Blake
Sylvain Ebanks-Blake
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Simon Grayson admits that Preston North End’s confidence levels have taken a dip during their disappointing run in January.

The PNE manager saw his side drop two more points in last night’s 1-1 draw with bottom club Yeovil at Deepdale.

It was a game in which they had to come from behind to have something to show for their efforts, substitute Sylvan Ebanks-Blake netting in the 76th minute to equalise an effort from Gozie Ugwu in first-half stoppage-time.

In front of a crowd of just 7,491 who braved the freezing weather, North End were well off the pace in the opening 45 minutes.

They were a bit better in the second half but still fell short of the standards they had set earlier in the campaign.

Grayson said: “It was disappointing we have dropped another two points, when on paper we should be picking them up.

“We were a little bit off it in the first half.

“You could sense the confidence and belief of the players was a little bit low.

“In the second half we changed it, upped the tempo and had them on the back foot.

“They frustrated us with a bit of time-wasting and we were inches away at times with crosses going across the box.

“But it was another frustrating night for us when we dropped two more points.”

North End started in a
3-4-1-2 formation, going back to a system which served them well last season.

The side showed four changes to accommodate that, with Kevin Davies, John Welsh, Bailey Wright and Scott Laird recalled to the side.

Grayson said: “We wanted to get an extra body in midfield and try and pass it better.

“When we have played two in there we have sometimes got over-run, I also like Paul Gallagher in that central area and it enabled us to keep two up front as well.

“We knew Yeovil would play deep and try to hit us on the counter attack, so we wanted to pen them in and get bodies into the box.

“But we rushed things again in our decision-making.

“We wanted to play with a tempo but you have to have the composure when you have the ball. Too many times the players were rushing things.

“We changed it in the second half, got them on the back foot and Yeovil were hanging in there at times.

“However, we didn’t do enough to go on and win.

“Systems don’t win matches, it is players going out and winning their battles, playing with a tempo and confidence and showing the qualities which this group have got.

“To concede just before half-time was a soft goal, soft in terms of the free-kick we gave away to start with, knowing they are a big side at set pieces.

“The warning signs had been there with previous set pieces.

“It was nice for Sylvan to get his first goal.

“We put him on there because we knew they would be camped around their 18-yard box, we knew he might get a flick-on from Kevin Davies and show his instinct.”

North End treated the 73 travelling Yeovil fans to free hot drinks and pies last night.