PNE can shoot down Seagulls

Greg Cunningham, seen celebrating here with scorer Daniel Johnson, played as a centre-back in PNE's win at Charlton on Tuesday night
Greg Cunningham, seen celebrating here with scorer Daniel Johnson, played as a centre-back in PNE's win at Charlton on Tuesday night
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Simon Grayson believes that getting a result against unbeaten Brighton is not beyond Preston North End at the Amex Stadium tomorrow.

The Seagulls are top of the Championship and will be hot favourites to extend their good run when PNE are in town.

But there is no feeling of trepidation from Lilywhites boss Grayson as he looks for his side to build on Tuesday’s 3-0 win at Charlton.

Grayson told the Evening Post: “I’m not surprised to see Brighton up there.

“Okay, they struggled last season, but if you go back to before then, they were in the play-off semi-finals.

“Chris Hughton has gone in there and got them going and, watching a DVD of their game against Bristol City, they have energy and play quick football.

“Brighton have threats in wide areas and in attack – they are up there for a reason.

“We are up for the challenge and we think we can get a result there.

“It is a big stadium, it will be a full house and we are looking forward to it.

“The squad are in very good spirits. The win we got against Charlton had been coming, to a certain degree.

“Our performance the other night went to the next level and we want to maintain that.

“We showed quality on the ball and our management of the game was excellent.”

Grayson could be tempted to change a winning team, with Joe Garner back in contention after serving a three-game ban.

Paul Huntington is also edging closer to full fitness after coming through 20 minutes as a sub at Charlton, where Grayson used a three-man defence of Calum Woods, Bailey Wright and Greg Cunningham.

But if he thinks Huntington can last the game, he could earn a recall at the back.

There could be a return to the bench for Chris Kirkland, a back spasm having ruled the keeper out in midweek.

Garner is under instructions to watch his step with referees as he returns to action.

Suspensions have kept him sidelined for four of the last fives games.

While Grayson feels that Garner has been harshly treated at times, he says the striker must keep on the right side of officials.

“Joe is experienced enough to know that he is something of a marked man,” Grayson said.

“Defenders will wind him up and some referees, while not admitting it, probably keep one eye on certain players.

“Joe has to be a bit clever and understand which challenges he can go in for and which he cannot.

“We don’t want him to keep being suspended – that is detrimental to the team.”

North End have stayed in the south since the Charlton game, both as a team-bonding exercise and to save them some travelling time.

Said Grayson: “We did some recovery work on Wednesday morning and in the evening we went to Kempton Park races.

“Yesterday we trained at Bisham Abbey and are doing so again today before setting off for Brighton.”