PNE ready to face top dogs

Paul Gallagher wipes his brow after netting with a follow-up
Paul Gallagher wipes his brow after netting with a follow-up
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Simon Grayson saluted a successful Easter for Preston North End and then set his sights on the weekend’s top-of-the-table clash with Bristol City.

The Lilywhites’ 3-0 victory over Bradford at Valley Parade completed a maximum points haul over the weekend following Good Friday’s win against Rochdale.

Goals from Paul Gallagher, Daniel Johnson and Chris Humphrey brought the three points back from West Yorkshire.

North End played with a man extra for all but 13 minutes of the game, Bantams centre-half Christopher Routis seeing red for pulling back Joe Garner.

But the home side still made it difficult for Grayson’s men.

The PNE manager gave his squad Tuesday off to recover from their Easter exertions but he will hit the road later on to take in Bristol City’s clash with Swindon.

Looking back at Easter Monday’s win, Grayson said: “It was a difficult place to go, Bradford are a team who play in a certain way.

“We had to stand up and be counted, make sure we played in the right areas on a really difficult surface.

“There were some key decisions in the game which went in our favour but they were certainly the right ones.

“So to come away with three points, three goals and a clean sheet – you can’t ask for too much more.

“The red card was correct. Bailey Wright powered a header up into their half, Joe got in front of the lad who brought him down.

“I don’t think anyone could disagree it was a sending off. We knew then we had to capitalise on that.

“In the first half we didn’t pass the ball as well as we could do. We went a bit too long a bit too quickly – even on a difficult surface you have to trust yourselves to get on the ball and play.

“At half-time we brought on a couple of subs, Neil Kilkenny and Jack King, who we thought could influence it a bit more.

“One of the subs was forced with Jack coming on for Paul Huntington, who was feeling his back again.

“With the extra man, Neil Kilkenny could give us the extra composure in midfield.

“We got the big bonus of getting the goal just after half-time. From then on, we put them to the sword.”

All the sides in and around North End in the promotion chase play on Tuesday night, Bristol City and Swindon meeting at Ashton Gate, while MK Dons host Scunthorpe.

Then it is on to the second-versus-first battle at Deepdale on Saturday, one Grayson is looking forward to immensely.

He said: “It was always going to be a cracker but this result has cranked it up a little bit more.

“It will be nice for us to see the results, maybe enjoy them and see what happens.

“Then we focus again on Saturday.

“We know we haven’t achieved anything yet, we have to make sure we are focused on where we want to take this football club.”