PNE looking to recapture good form at home
Preston North End will aim to recapture their form at Deepdale when they host Blackburn Rovers in the first of four big home games over the next month.
Rovers’ visit (5.30pm) is followed by the Christmas matches against Leeds and Sheffield Wednesday, then the FA Cup clash with Arsenal.
Simon Grayson’s men have gone three games in front of the home faithful – Newcastle, Wolves and Burton – without a victory, a run which the PNE manager is anxious to halt.
“When you look at it, the next four home games are massive crowd wise,” said Grayson. “Blackburn, Leeds, Sheffield Wednesday and then Arsenal, it is going to be a great period of time.
“Hopefully the place can be rocking for all of those games.
“Our record at Deepdale has been very good over the last couple of months. The last couple of results have been a bit disappointing with the draws against Wolves and Burton.
“Saying that, every point in the Championship is hard to come by.
“You have to earn the right to get three points from a game and we will be looking to do that tomorrow.”
Grayson is confident that the fight between Jermaine Beckford and Eoin Doyle at Hillsborough last week, is well and truly behind them.
Both start three-match bans tomorrow, leaving North End a little short of forward cover on the bench.
Said Grayson: “Neither of them have been regular starters recently but that is not to say we won’t miss them.
“Sometimes when you turn around and look at the substitutes, you know you have a strong bench which can help you to change a game.
“Jermaine and Eoin are not available for three games and we have to get on with it.
“Last weekend was difficult but as a club, I thought we handled it very fairly and very quickly.
“It is something which should not have happened, something which I would like to think won’t happen again.
“The two players have apologised to their team-mates and things have gone back to normal.”
Grayson was keeping his cards very close to his chest with regards injury news and selection issues.
Paul Gallagher and Aiden McGeady are doubts with calf and groin injuries respectively.
It might be that Stevie May comes into the reckoning, more than a year after he tore three knee ligaments.
Grayson said: “When you are without players, it gives other people an opportunity.
“Stevie played 70 minutes against Fleetwood on Tuesday and scored a goal.
“We have 21 players available for this game and Stevie is one of them.
“There are different systems we can play because there is a lot of flexibility in this group.
“We have players like Simon Makienok, Ben Pringle and Alan Browne pushing to get in, Liam Grimshaw too who hasn’t featured much. They all want to play.”