PNE boss urges team to keep up the intensity

Paul Gallagher
Paul Gallagher
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Simon Grayson wants to see the same intensity from Preston North End against Fulham tonight which they showed in the derby win over Blackburn.

The Lilywhites boss is keen to build on the Ewood Park success as he eyes the strongest of finishes to the season.

Fulham come to Deepdale in need of points after being dragged into a relegation battle, that despite them being the second highest scorers in the Championship.

Grayson said: “It is not going to be easy in terms of adrenaline for the players and supporters.

“We have come off the back of a derby win where we took 7,000 fans with us.

“As a group of players and staff, we have to make sure we give the supporters something to cheer about.

“We had a similar situation a few weeks ago when we played Sheffield Wednesday here, had a fantastic crowd and beat them 1-0.

“Then on the Tuesday night we played Charlton and had to get back up for that one, that a game we also won.

“We will have to have an intensity to our play, be aggressive with our passing and running, try to dominate the game as much as we can.”

The fact that Fulham are fourth bottom of the table is a surprise to Grayson.

Strikers Ross McCormack and Moussa Dembele boast 33 league goals between them but the Cottagers have shipped 65 goals – only Charlton and Bolton have let in more.

“Fulham have some talented individuals but have been a very inconsistent team this season,” said Grayson.

“They know they have to get some more points and it is a good game for us in that it is against a team with plenty to play for.

“I’m surprised to see them down there but I have said a few times that no team has a divine right to be in the top six or a divine right to be out of the bottom three.

“It is all about collective components where you have to defend well and attack well.

“This season, Fulham have not got that balance right.”

Grayson’s selection issues are of the right kind tonight with him reporting no injuries from the Blackburn win.

He said: “The squad at the weekend was the strongest it had been for a few months.

“It was good to look round and see Eoin Doyle, Daniel Johnson, Jermaine Beckford and Callum Robinson on the bench is we needed to change things in an attacking sense.

“We had Paul Huntington and Marnick Vermijl on the defensive side too.”

Paul Gallagher will continue to be nursed between games as he awaits hernia surgery.

Said Grayson: “The way he is playing, you wouldn’t know that Gally needs an operation.

“His overall play has been very good, he has a fantastic passing range and his mobility hasn’t been hampered.

“We will keep assessing him over the next few weeks.

“When it was 11 v 10 against Blackburn, Gally played his role very well.

“He was the spare man and our link-man all the time.”