PNE kept the faith

TUSSLE: Preston striker Jordan Hugill battles with Brighton's Lewis Dunk
TUSSLE: Preston striker Jordan Hugill battles with Brighton's Lewis Dunk
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SIMON Grayson believes that Preston North End’s results in the last week show that they are more than capable of competing at Championship level.

They came close to ending Brighton’s unbeaten record in Saturday’s goalless draw at the Amex Stadium.

The point gained on the south coast followed the 3-0 victory at Charlton last Tuesday.

North End have lost only one of their last five and now face back-to-back matches at Deepdale against Bolton and Nottingham Forest.

Lilywhites manager Grayson said: “When we were struggling, it was our job to reiterate that they were good players and that performances were close to warranting more points than they had got.

“The win at Charlton last week was a good one and gave us a chance to kick-on again.

“That performance emphasised the quality we have here and we followed that up with an excellent display at Brighton.

“We are not here to make up the numbers, we are here to put in performances to try and get three points.

“On Saturday, we couldn’t be too open against a side top of the division and having the attacking threats they did.

“It was a different at Charlton when I thought we could be more attacking.

“That said, we broke very well against Brighton, managed the game well and used the ball well.

“We had the clearer chances and apart from the save from the free-kick in the first half, Jordan Pickford didn’t have a lot to do.

“We probably came as close as anyone to beating Brighton this season.

“Joe Garner had those chances at the end, the one he put over the bar he probably caught too well.

“It is a remarkable feat that Brighton are still unbeaten at this stage of the season.

“Chris Hughton has done a fantastic job and every week there is pressure because teams want to be the first to beat them.

“I did say last week why couldn’t we be the first team to beat them?

“We were very close, and whoever Brighton play next, that team will be thinking the same sort of thing.”

Grayson kept an unchanged side at Brighton, resisting the temptation to put Garner straight back into the attack.

During the second half, Garner came off the bench to replace Eoin Doyle.

“Sometimes you have to be loyal to the players, send the message that if they do well, they stay in the team,” said Grayson.

“It was a tough call to leave Joe on the bench but it would have been tough to leave Eoin Doyle or Jordan Hugill out.

“Had Eoin or Jordan been left out after doing so well in midweek, that would have been disappointing for them.

“Joe was happy with the decision and understood it.

“When we brought him on later in the game, he looked a threat and in 25 minutes had two or three good opportunities.”