PNE boss plays Santa

PNE boss Simon Grayson
PNE boss Simon Grayson
Have your say

Preston North End manager Simon Grayson has shown plenty of festive spirit by allowing the Lilywhites squad to spend Christmas Day at home.

Grayson will still expect the players to do some work tomorrow and they have been sent home with heart monitors so that their fitness levels can be assessed.

But he decided not to put them through a training session at Springfields ahead of the Boxing Day clash with Barnsley at Deepdale.

Managers differ in their approach to preparations on Christmas Day.

In his time in management, Grayson has gone down both routes and no particular pattern has emerged in terms of Boxing Day results.

To make up for not being in tomorrow, the squad trained on Monday, yesterday and were being put through their paces this morning.

Grayson told the Evening Post: “Myself and the staff have had long discussions about it and there is no right or wrong way.

“Everyone is different in terms of training or not on Christmas Day.

“In the past I have had teams in at Christmas – sometimes they won and sometimes they lost the next day.

“I’ve given players the day off and they’ve both won and lost on Boxing Day.

“We normally have a day off earlier in the week but they haven’t had that.

“On a Friday before a Saturday game, the players don’t do a great deal anyway in terms of preparation.

“That work is all done in the earlier part of the week and they just come in for an hour on a Friday.

“We will probably give the players heart monitors.

“They will go out for a little jog themselves and we can check the heart monitors later to make sure they have done something. This is a good group, an honest bunch of lads and I would not expect them to come in on Boxing Day having not prepared properly.

“It would be interesting if you did a poll of all clubs to see who was in on Christmas Day and who wasn’t and then look at the win/lose ratio.

“I don’t think there is an exact science to it.”

The Christmas programme is not quite as hectic in the Football League as it is in the Premier League.

Barnsley’s visit on Friday is followed by the trip to Crewe on Sunday.

But with no match on New Year’s Day, North End are not in action again until they play Norwich in the FA Cup a week on Saturday.

That is then followed by the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy first-leg tie with Walsall at Deepdale on Wednesday, January 7.

Ticket prices for that game have been slashed for ambassadors to £5 adults and £1 concessions, and £6 and £2 for non-ambassadors.

Looking ahead to the next two games, Grayson said: “If you win both matches that can catapult you up there.

“We started the festive period with a good win against Peterborough and we will try and replicate that against Barnsley and Crewe.

“This is a good opportunity to try and build on what we have done over the last few weeks.”

David Buchanan is likely to be back in contention after missing the last three games with a tight hamstring.

But he will face a tough task to dislodge Scott Laird from the left-back position.