PNE boss in plea to fans

Calum Woods has set up PNE's winning goal in the last three games
Calum Woods has set up PNE's winning goal in the last three games
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Simon Grayson has asked for a degree of patience from the Deepdale faithful tonight as Preston North End seek to stay on the winning trail against Charlton.

The Lilywhites manager is expecting the visitors to adopt a cautious approach to their visit to Lancashire.

That might not lend itself to a free-flowing spectacle to start with, while the noise levels will dip compared to Saturday’s win over Sheffield Wednesday.

A 16,923 crowd created a great atmosphere at the weekend, with 5,600 Wednesday fans having made the trip.

The 1-0 victory against the Owls was PNE’s third on the bounce and a fourth win tonight could close the gap between themselves and the play-off places.

Grayson said: “The away following on Saturday – more than 5,500 – contributed to a great atmosphere.

“If anything, it was like a cup-tie atmosphere and tonight will be at the other end of the scale. I don’t think there will be too many travelling up from London.

“We have got to make sure we go into the game and put in a performance which gets the energy levels up for our fans.

“Tonight we have to be professional and make sure it is not a case of ‘After the Lord Mayor’s Show’.

“Sometimes the crowd can inspire and lift you but this one might be a game where the players lift the supporters.

“It is a two-way thing – the supporters have to stick with the players and be patient, then the players have to give fans something to cheer about. It is a Championship game against a side desperate to get points but we desperately want the points too.”

PNE will target their first league double of the season, having beaten Charlton 3-0 at The Valley in October.

That win came in a six-game unbeaten run in which they did not concede a goal.

As North End bid to find a way through the Addicks this evening, they will be looking to Calum Woods to continue his run of assists.

Woods has set up the winner in the last three games with deliveries from the right wing.

Said Grayson: “Calum and Greg Cunningham played the wing-back system very well at Derby and again on Saturday.

“In that role, you have to time it right to get forward because you have a lot of ground to cover.

“Calum has done well with the assists in the last three games – he’s two footed and can put a good ball in.”

It was Joe Garner on the end of Woods’ latest assist, scoring his first goal since December.

Grayson felt the goal was a reward for Garner’s all-round play during the barren run.

“When certain strikers don’t score you have to take them out of the team because they are not doing enough with the other aspects of their play,” said Grayson.

“While the goals weren’t coming for Joe, his displays have been very good.

“He takes the knocks and bruises, which allows others to get space.”