PNE boss will monitor players’ fitness during busy period

Simon Grayson
Simon Grayson
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Simon Grayson says sport science and recovery will form a key part of Preston North End’s routine during their forthcoming busy programme of matches.

PNE are scheduled to play nine games in less than a month, starting with today’s meeting with Port Vale at Deepdale (3pm).

The subject of recovery days and players avoiding fatigue raised its head recently when Raheem Sterling did not start for England against Estonia after telling Roy Hodgson he felt tired.

Grayson admits that in all likelihood he will not be able to field the same starting XI over the next 29 days because of injuries and the need to keep certain players fresh.

He highlighted the case of Kyel Reid who will have to be carefully managed having only recently come into the team after an eight-month absence with a torn knee cruciate ligament.

“I know I have been criticised for changing my team around a little bit but I see the players in training every day,” said Grayson.

“If you see that a player is suffering from a little bit of fatigue, the worse thing you can do is play them and risk pulling a muscle which could keep them out for six to eight weeks.

“You always have to be one step ahead of situations and that is why I think Raheem Sterling was spot-on with what he did the other week.

“What if Sterling had played, had done poorly and made a mistake which gave a goal away? He would have been lambasted.

“Full credit to him and Roy Hodgson, they made the right decision.

“It is demanding for young players, we have young lads in our squad who you have to manage.

“Sterling is still only a young kid, his body is still growing and developing. If you keep playing and playing them, they might suffer in the long term.

“We always help our players here to recover properly after games, we do exactly what the Premier League clubs do.

“I don’t think any player at any club goes into a game 100% fit but you want them to be as near as damn it.

“That means recovery sessions, keeping track of how hard they have worked in games.

“During this schedule of games there will be a strong emphasis on the recovery side of things and getting them ready for the next game.

“Your time on the actual training pitch will be shorter, probably an hour maximum.

“That might not seem very long to the supporters, just going to work for an hour.

“But the players will be doing a lot of other work off the pitch, with the recovery work and the DVD analysis.”

Grayson’s selection options for Vale’s visit this afternoon will be much greater than the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy meeting with them a week last Tuesday.

Scott Wiseman, Callum Robinson and Alan Browne are back from international duty, while the injury list is looking a little shorter than it was before the break.

Kevin Davies, Andy Little, Scott Laird, Calum Woods, Bailey Wright and Will Hayhurst have been among the casualties.