PNE in match of the day

Jack King could replace Paul Huntington for PNE against Bristol City
Jack King could replace Paul Huntington for PNE against Bristol City
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Simon Grayson says a win is the only thing on Preston North End’s agenda as they prepare to face Bristol City in League One’s match of the day.

The clash pitches second against first, with City almost over the line in the race for automatic promotion and PNE hoping to follow suit.

Deepdale will see its biggest league crowd of the season, North End manager Grayson wanting the home supporters to create a noisy and vibrant atmosphere.

Grayson said: “We are not going into the game looking for anything less than a win.

“We are full of respect for Bristol City but this is no different to playing any other match.

“That might be quite easy for me to say but we have to focus on Saturday, try and do whatever it takes to win.

“If we don’t win the game, the next best thing is another point because any point accumulates at the end of the season.

“We are certainly setting our stall out to go and win this game, pull away from the teams below us but also try and close the gap on Bristol as well.

“All season we have focused just on what we can do – you’re probably fed-up of me saying that week in, week out.

“At the end of January people were writing us off but we felt within the club that we still had the group to go on a run and we have shown that.

“We are not getting complacent just because we have reached second in the division – we have to finish off the job and will maintain our focus and attention to detail.”

Grayson ran the rule over the Robins in their 3-0 victory against Swindon on Tuesday.

He sees similar qualities in Steve Cotterill’s side and his own team.

“When you looked at the fixtures in the summer, you thought then that there could be something riding on this game,” said Grayson.

“This is the game of the day in the division, one to really get excited about.

“I watched Bristol City the other night and I think they are very much like us.

“They are a hard-working side, very well organised and disciplined – they play when they need to play and can get forward to the strikers too.

“From early on they have led the division and also won the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.

“This is a great game for everyone – myself, the players and the supporters.

“Deepdale should be rocking and I would encourage as many fans as possible to come. A lively atmosphere can galvanise the players.”

PNE’s one fitness concern is Paul Huntington, who came off at half-time against Bradford after suffering a recurrence of a back injury.

Said Grayson: “We’ll wait and see with him. Having the extra day’s rest having played on Monday might help.

“We saw how well Jack King did when he replaced Hunts at half-time and he also did well at Fleetwood.”

Meanwhile, Daniel Johnson has missed out of the player of the month award, Bristol City’s Aden Flint winning it.