PNE must beware of relaxed Gills

Cody McDonald
Cody McDonald
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Preston North End manager Simon Grayson has dismissed the notion that Gillingham have little to play for as the Kent club prepare to visit Deepdale.

The Gills represent middle ground in League One, sitting in 12th place.

Safe from relegation and with the play-offs virtually out of reach, their last four games will be about pride more than anything.

That makes them anything but a soft touch according to Grayson, pointing out that impressing new boss Justin Edinburgh is a motivating factor in itself.

“People shouldn’t under estimate how well Gillingham are doing,” said Grayson.

“They went to Bristol City and got a draw there, and they beat Bradford at the weekend. Justin Edinburgh has got them going.

“They are probably one of only two or three teams when you look at the division who haven’t got anything to play for in terms of they are not going to go down or get into the play-offs.

“What they are doing is playing for professional pride, probably playing for contracts for next year and are having a go for the manager.

“He is still running his eye over them and so they are playing for their futures.

“They have a group who are trying to impress a new manager.

“I’m sure Justin will be saying to his players you have nothing to lose, go outand do whatever you can.”

Edinburgh’s record since he arrived from Newport at the start of February is pretty impressive.

The Gills have beaten MK Dons and Swindon, as well as holding Bristol City to a goalless draw at Ashton Gate.

However, until Saturday they had endured a few problems playing at home.

The 1-0 win over Bradford was their first at Priestfield since Valentine’s Day.

Former Spurs full-back Edinburgh was relieved to have returned to winning ways at home. He said: “You always want to win your home games and I make no bones about that.

“We didn’t want to make too big an issue of it but we were aware that we hadn’t had the results, or perhaps the performances we wanted here, but we’ve got the three points and the clean sheet.

“We have been good away from home and we will take that confidence and momentum into the game at Preston.

“When I first came here there was always that possibility of a play-off spot, but it was an outside one.

“We wanted to make sure we could continue to progress and make strides.

That is five wins, five draws and three defeats and that is pretty good going.

“I always wanted to finish the season strongly because I think you take momentum into next season.”

Cody McDonald will offer their main goal threat, having found the net 18 times.

John Marquis, on loan from Millwall, has scored eight goals – including Saturday’s winner.