Keep the wins coming, says PNE boss

Simon Grayson
Simon Grayson
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Simon Grayson has adopted a ‘more the merrier’ approach to Preston North End’s busy schedule which has seen them reignite their promotion push

February saw them win all five of their League One games as well as tasting victory against Sheffield United in an FA Cup replay.

Their only defeat was to Manchester United on a night when £500,000 revenue was a decent consolation prize.

PNE’s latest victory was Saturday’s 4-0 hammering of Oldham at Boundary Park.

Only briefly did they have time to enjoy it, with another game coming up on Tuesday night against Doncaster at Deepdale.

North End boss Grayson said: “We are playing a lot of Saturday-Tuesday football at the moment.

“If you are winning most of the time, the players would happily play that schedule for the rest of the season.

“Players don’t feel tired when you are winning games, they recover quickly and do their work.

“When you have won five games on the trot and kept five clean sheets like we have, you want to keep playing.”

North End were in control against Oldham right from the start, Paul Huntington giving them the lead with 70 seconds on the clock.

Daniel Johnson scored the goal of the game later in the first half to double the lead.

In the 52nd minute, Joe Garner knocked home his 15th goal of the campaign, with substitute Jermaine Beckford finishing the Latics off eight minutes from time.

Grayson praised his side for mastering the conditions, the pitch bobbly and quite heavily sanded down one side.

“We are at a stage of the season where a lot of pitches are going to be like that,” said Grayson.

“When that is the case you have to play in the right areas and play with quality.

“It is about finding a way of playing which is going to help you win the match.

“We went long, we went short, we were ruthless in both boxes and all round it was a good performance. What we tried to do was play the ball up to Joe Garner and then get the second balls off him.

“You saw them with the second goal, Scott Laird got it up to Joe who knocked it down for Daniel Johnson who fired in a fantastic finish.”

North End could not have had a better start, taking the lead with a little more than a minute played.

They forced a corner after only 15 seconds, one which was cleared for a second flag kick.

From that, centre-half Huntington got up at the far post to head home.

Grayson said: “The first corner we took, we tried to execute something we had worked on in training.

“It didn’t go as planned but we got a second bite at the cherry and Paul Gallagher put it into another good area where Hunts attacked it and scored.

“Daniel scored a fine goal for the second, then Joe was in the right place at the right time to score the third. It was nice to see Jermaine back after his illness to score the fourth.

“The lad has worked hard since coming back to training, doing a lot of finishing work and conditioning work.

“A lot of credit for his goal has to go to Sylvan Ebanks-Blake who kept the ball alive in the first place and played it across for Jermaine to score.

“We played well all game which was very pleasing.”