Simon Grayson will look to celebrate his manager of the month award by overseeing a Preston North End win against promotion rivals MK Dons tomorrow.
ive victories on the bounce in February saw the Lilywhites boss scoop the managerial gong for League One ahead of Steve Cotterill, Nigel Clough and Rob Page.
Our philosophy for this one will be the same as it is for every game we play – we go there to try and win it
That strong form saw them squeeze up on the automatic promotion places and they moved into the top two – above MK Dons – after drawing with Doncaster in midweek.
This is their second time in the top two slots, having spent three weeks there in the autumn.
Clearly the target now is for North End to have a far longer stay up there.
Grayson said: “Everyone from the outside will be saying this is a six-pointer but we have to treat it as another game.
“Of course we understand the significance of it, as MK Dons do.
“If we win we pull away from them, if they win they go back above us.
“There are plenty of games still to be played, plenty of twists and turns left.
“We go there in good spirits, aware of the talent they have and looking forward to what should be a good game.
“Our philosophy for this one will be the same as it is for every game we play – we go there to try and win it.
“If we don’t win it, the next best thing will be a draw.
“I will approach playing MK Dons just like I would have done had we played them two months ago – things haven’t changed with league position.
“We know exactly how they are going to play and we know which of our strengths can hurt them.
“MK are a good passing team and have had a scoring threat all season. Karl Robinson will know all about us, as we do about them.”
Grayson was pleased to have picked up the manager of the month award, the winning run in February in contrast to a poor January.
He always felt that Preston could turn that a disappointing start to the year around, last month also seeing FA Cup joy against Sheffield United which set up the Deepdale clash with Manchester United.
“I had belief that this squad could get results and the lads went and proved that,” said Grayson.
“There is no getting away from the fact that we did not have a good January – that can happen over the course of a season.
“We responded really well, got some people back available and all credit to the players.
“They bounced back when one or two people had written them off.
“We knew we could get a result to kick-start us and that happened.
“That gave us a platform and we have kept on building from there.
“If anyone had said we would take 16 points out of 18, I would have taken that.”
l PNE midfielder Keith Keane has joined Stevenage on loan until April 1. The move reunites him with Graham Westley at Broadhall Way.