PNE have staying power

Simon Makienok is likely to retain his place against Nottingham Forest
Simon Makienok is likely to retain his place against Nottingham Forest
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Simon Grayson hopes that Preston’s pre-Christmas road trip can yield a decent points return to carry into the festive period.

The Lilywhites head to the City Ground tonight to face Nottingham Forest, then continue on to Bristol City at the weekend.

Grayson is keeping his squad together between the two games – they will be based in the East Midlands to cut down on the travelling.

They did a similar thing twice last season when having back-to-back away games and on both occasions brought back four points.

“We are staying down after playing Forest, we’ll have a couple of days together and go down to Bristol City.

“Doing that helps with the preparation and travel for the weekend game.

“Our focus now, though, is just on playing Nottingham Forest and we are looking forward to that.

“The City Ground is always a good place to play at, there is a great atmosphere.

“Forest have recently been involved in some eventful games – they won 5-2 at Barnsley, beat Newcastle, who were down to nine men, and then lost a local derby on Sunday.

“They are a side who play a bit of a different formation and have some good players.

“When you look at the stats, they score plenty of goals but also concede quite a few.

“We’ve prepared well for the game and we go there having got a very good win against Blackburn.

“When you have three games in a week like this, I think it was a real boost to win the first one.

“It means you are not playing catch-up or feeling under pressure.

“We will take confidence from the Blackburn win and hopefully have a good week.”

Simon Makienok is likely to keep his place tonight, having impressed on Saturday in what was only his second league start in Preston colours.

His fellow Dane, Nicklas Bendtner, will be in Forest’s squad.

Said Grayson: “Sometimes tall players don’t jump well or utilise their height advantage but I thought Simon did that very well against Blackburn.

“He was an outlet for us, was good with his feet, with his hold-up play bringing others into the game.

“In those last few minutes, Simon was still running, even though it was hard work.

“He’s worked hard on the training ground to keep himself in a good condition.”

North End will be without Jermaine Beckford and Eoin Doyle who serve the second game of three-match bans.

Grayson reported that Paul Gallagher and Aiden McGeady were ‘moving closer’ in terms of a return to fitness after calf and groin injuries but gave no clue as to whether they would be involved tonight.

John Welsh has suffered a slight setback in his recovery from a torn calf muscle and will not be involved.

Stevie May will be in the squad again, having been an unused sub on Saturday.