A week to remember for PNE

Bailey Wright
Bailey Wright
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Simon Grayson is looking for Preston North End to finish the week as they started it by taking three points to cement their position in the League One promotion race.

North End host Walsall at Deepdale tomorrow (3pm) to round off a busy and emotional week.

It started with last Saturday’s 2-1 victory at Colchester which kept them in touch with the automatic promotion places.

But Tuesday night’s 3-3 draw with Rotherham was a set-back, with the Millers equalising in the 88th minute.

Yesterday, all the squad and coaching staff attended the civic funeral of Sir Tom Finney before training later in the day.

PNE boss Simon Grayson said: “We started the week well with three points at Colchester.

“We were desperate to win the game against Rotherham. Unfortunately we didn’t but the next best thing was a draw.

“When we were 2-0 down after 10 minutes we would have settled for a draw – but after getting 3-2 in front we were really disappointed not to have won.

“We go again this weekend and this will be a totally different kind of game to the one in midweek.

“Walsall are a footballing team who play a different style, and we have to make sure that we are good enough to win the game.

“It is nip and tuck in terms of the positions up there and we have to concentrate on accumulating as many points as possible from now until the end of the season and see where that takes us.”

Grayson has a couple of injuries to contend with before finalising the side which will face the Saddlers.

Skipper John Welsh has missed the last two games with a knee injury picked up in the draw at MK Dons 10 days ago.

He went for a scan on Tuesday, more as a precaution rather than any major worry about a serious problem.

Right-back Scott Wiseman limped out of the Rotherham game after taking a knock in the second half, and his fitness will be assessed.

Bailey Wright will definitely be involved tomorrow after being rather surprisingly overlooked for the Australia squad this week.

The young centre-half had been tipped to be named in the Socceroos party for next Wednesday’s friendly against Ecuador at Millwall’s New Den ground.

Australian coach Ange Postecoglou ran the rule over Wright and team-mate Neil Kilkenny in the goalless draw at Bradford a month ago.

North End will certainly be looking to add a ruthless streak to their home form tomorrow and in the coming weeks.

Too many Deepdale draws have held them back in terms of getting closer to the sides above them.

Said Grayson: “We know that we have dropped too many points at home and that we could have done better in certain situations in certain games.

“But you can never fault the players’ attitude and character – these lads never go missing in games. Embedded in the squad is an attitude that they never lie down.”