Keep it up, says PNE boss

Jordan Hugill trudges off the pitch after being red carded
Jordan Hugill trudges off the pitch after being red carded
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Simon Grayson is content with Preston North End’s start to the season but has urged his side to carry on the good work when they go to Rotherham on Tuesday.

Paul Gallagher’s 28th minute goal was enough to give PNE a 1-0 win at MK Dons.

Having kicked-off with a draw against title favourites Middlesbrough and then won at Crewe in the Capital One Cup, Grayson reflected on a pleasing enough start.

The Lilywhites manager’s one grumble from Saturday was with striker Jordan Hugill who was sent-off within four minutes of joining the action as a substitute.

Hugill aimed a stamp at MK defender Kyle McFadzean and will now serve a three-match suspension.

“Any manager whose team takes four points and keeps two clean sheets is going to be pleased,” said Grayson.

“We are through to the next round of the cup too, so it’s been a decent first few days of the season.

“But we’re not going to get carried away, thinking we are going to storm the division.

“There are going to be more twists and turns along the way with some difficult matches.

“I’m pleased with our start and level-headed too.

“On Tuesday we need to go to Rotherham and perform, if we don’t then we will come unstuck.

“It will be a different type of game there than we had at MK Dons.

“Then we have got Ipswich after that who were in the Championship play-offs last season.

“We will go to enjoy these games and to embrace them.”

PNE’s win at stadium:mk ended a 13-game unbeaten run for their hosts.

Ironically, Grayson’s men had been the last team to beat them in March.

The winner from Gallagher came on the counter-attack, a tactic which North End lent heavily on.

Said Grayson: “We knew how MK Dons would play and that they would have quite a bit of possession.

“We were confident that we would still create chances on the counter-attack and so it proved.

“Maybe we could have done a bit better in the final third with a couple of the chances we created.

“It was a good performance, made difficult in the last 10 minutes or so by what happened with Jordan Hugill.

“The lads came through with flying colours .

“We played a system which suits the players we have got.

“There are other systems we can play too because the players are flexible.

“The way we played limited MK Dons to few opportunities and when they did get through, defenders made blocks and Jordan Pickford came for every cross and got them – he was superb in that respect.”

Grayson was unhappy to say the least with Hugill.

After coming on to replace Will Keane in the 80th minute, he was back on the sidelines four minutes later.

Said Grayson: “The red card was justified.

“It was a nothing challenge between them and the two lads were picking each other up. Jordan then decided to step on the lad.

“You don’t do that at any time of the game, you don’t do it in front of the fourth official and assistant referee.

“The referee had no choice but to send Jordan off.

“He has to learn, he got a red card last season too.

“Jordan put his team-mates under unnecessary pressure by what he did.”