PNE boss tells Greg: Be patient

Greg Cunningham has been told by Preston North End manager Simon Grayson to stay patient in his wait for a Republic of Ireland recall.

Saturday, 18th March 2017, 6:00 am
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 11:08 am
Deepdale defender Greg Cunningham

The Lilywhites left-back was overlooked for the latest Irish squad named by Martin O’Neill this week.

He had been tipped for a call-up following his strong form in the PNE side over the last two seasons.

Cunningham has won four senior international caps, three of them during his time on Manchester City’s books and the last in 2013 when he was Bristol City player.

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Grayson said: “I know that Greg has been considered as I have spoken to Martin O’Neill a little a bit and to Steve Guppy who is on his staff.

“I think it is more down to the fact there are a couple of Premier League full-backs in front of him.

“I’ve spoken to Greg about it and he wants to concentrate on what he is doing here and continuing to play well.

“Greg is still young and has time on his side to break into the Ireland squad.

“I’ve told him that and to keep working hard.

“He has performed so well and consistently in his time here and his chance will come, I’m sure of that.”

Cunningham, 26, has been the model of consistency in his 19 months at Deepdale.

He has started 84 games and has never been named as a substitute.

Three of his North End team-mates, Aiden McGeady, Andy Boyle and Daryl Horgan, got call-ups for the Republic of Ireland squad for the games against Wales and Iceland.

McGeady has been in the Irish squad for a number of years, winning 86 caps.

Boyle and Horgan are yet to be capped, having made the squad in October while still with Dundalk.

Cunningham will get chance for a rest during the forthcoming international break.

After today’s derby with Blackburn at Ewood Park, North End next see action against Nottingham Forest on April 1.

That is the start of a run of demanding fixtures, visits to Leeds, Huddersfield Town and Newcastle among them.

Said Grayson: “When it comes to the play-offs and who is trying to get in them, I haven’t looked in detail at who is playing who.

“I’m just concentrating on who we have to play because that is the only thing we can control – what other teams do is out of our hands.

“I look at our fixtures and we have some tough games against teams fighting for their lives at the bottom and others who are trying to get promoted.

“We will concentrate on our task and see where takes us.

“After playing Blackburn, we have a breather during the international break.

“Then it comes down to an eight-game season which could get very exciting.”

Meanwhile, tickets have gone on sale to PNE fans for the game at Leeds on April 8.

Prices are on the hefty side, adult seats purchased in advance costing £37.

For seniors (60 and over) and 16-22, the cost in advance is £25, while tickets are £18 for under-16s and £9 for under-11s.

Tickets brought on the day of the game go up to £42 adults and £30 for seniors and 16-22.

The prices stay the same for Under-16s and Under-11s.

North End have been given an initial allocation of 1,487 seats in the JohnCharles West Stand upper tier.

Coaches laid on by PNE from Deepdale and Leyland cost £12 for all.