Grayson aiming to put a stop to Rovers' revival
Simon Grayson will look to be the first manager to get the better of Tony Mowbray when Preston make the short trip to Ewood Park to face Blackburn this weekend.
overs are unbeaten in six games since Mowbray took the reins less than a month ago, a run which has boosted their chances of avoiding the drop from the Championship.
The 53-year-old, who lists Celtic, West Bromwich, Hibs and Middlesbrough among the clubs he has managed, was a surprise appointment to succeed Owen Coyle.
But Rovers have certainly had the bounce from his first few weeks at the helm.
So can PNE boss Grayson buck the trend and lead them to victory in East Lancashire for the second year running?
“Tony has done very well at Blackburn and had some good results,” said Grayson.
“To go to Fulham and get a 2-2 draw this week was a great point, as was the draw they got at Norwich last Saturday.
“I watched Blackburn beat Derby a few weeks ago and they played well.
“The players have clearly been receptive to Tony’s ideas.
“He will be doing whatever is required to get through this season and make sure they are still in the Championship.
“Then he has the summer to do whatever he can do.
“Blackburn have some good experienced players and some good younger ones who I’m aware of.
“This will be a tough test for us – any derby game is a tough test, any game in the Championship is.
“We will go there with a lot of our supporters to try to get three points.”
Mowbray kicked off his tenure with a 1-1 draw away to Burton, Rovers then having back-to-back home wins over Derby and Wigan.
Their last three games have ended in draws with Cardiff, Norwich and Fulham.
It was a late show against the Cottagers, sub Lucas Joao scoring the equaliser in the 90th minute.
It was the striker’s third goal for Rovers since joining on loan from Sheffield Wednesday in January.
All his appearances have come off the bench and it might be that he gets a start against PNE.
Rovers’ other options up front include Danny Graham, Sam Gallagher and Marvin Emnes.
Graham is top scorer at Ewood with 12 goals, 11 of them in the league.
He scored both of Rovers’ goals in their 3-2 defeat to Preston in the reverse fixture at Deepdale in December.
It was Graham and Emnes up front at Fulham, with Craig Conway and Elliott Bennett on the wings.
Looking ahead to North End’s visit, Mowbray said: “It is a huge game.
“I have to say that Preston have done fantastically well, they are another team that are eyeing the play-offs.
“They’ve got some huge physical power in their team, some great athleticism, so it will be a big challenge for us – it will be our seventh game in 22 days.
“Hopefully we can make life difficult for Preston and get the three points.”