PNE getting back to business

Simon Grayson at Gresty Road on Saturday
Simon Grayson at Gresty Road on Saturday
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Preston North End will put aside their final-day defeat to Crewe and head into the play-offs in confident manner says Simon Grayson.

The 2-1 loss at Gresty Road saw PNE slip to a fifth-place finish, setting up a semi-final meeting with Rotherham.

Deepdale will host the first leg on Saturday teatime (5.15pm) with the return game at the New York Stadium a week on Thursday (7.45pm).

Having started the weekend in third spot, there was a sense of disappointment among the supporters that North End had dropped to fifth.

The team’s display at Crewe was well off the pace, Adam Dugdale and Mathias Pogba giving the Railwaymen a two-goal lead before John Welsh halved the deficit in injury time.

Lilywhites boss Grayson acknowledged that his side had fallen short in Cheshire but is backing them to respond in the right manner against the Millers.

Grayson said: “We knew before the Crewe game that we could have finished third, fourth or fifth.

“There is never a given right that wherever you finish in the league will get you to Wembley and ultimately to the Championship.

“We know what we have got now. It is Rotherham at Deepdale first and then we go to their place on the Thursday.

“This season we have had two good games against them.

“It was 0-0 over there and then they equalised in the last minute at Deepdale.

“We know what Rotherham are all about – they are a team very much on the front foot and play with a purpose.

“They have got a style of play and a manager who is very passionate about what he does. We know we have to be a match for them but we are as good as any team in this division on our day.

“Hopefully that will come to the fore in the next two games.”

Tickets for both legs went on sale this morning, with normal matchday prices applying.

PNE contacted Rotherham again on Saturday to try and reach an agreement on lowering ticket prices for the home leg but the offer was declined.

Previously, they had been in touch with all potential play-off opponents about cheaper prices at Deepdale.

Orient and Peterborough had said ‘no’, while that first time the Millers had not responded. Rotherham will have an allocation of around 2,100 in the Bill Shankly Kop, with PNE getting 1,200 tickets for the away leg.

North End’s preparations for the first leg started this morning with the players returning to training.