PNE must get back on track

Simon Grayson wants to see Preston North End back on a winning track when they face MK Dons at Deepdale tomorrow.

Adam Reach is back in the squad to face MK Dons
Adam Reach is back in the squad to face MK Dons

PNE go into the clash having suffered back-to-back losses to Middlesbrough and Fulham.

Only fives times during Grayson’s tenure of more than three years, have his side lost successive league games.

They lost three on the spin early in the season against Ipswich, Hull and Derby.

In December, North End were beaten twice in a row by Leeds and Huddersfield.

Last season, there was one patch when they lost three league games in a row, while that happened once in the 2013/14 campaign.

“We need to get back to winning ways, I don’t like losing two games on the trot and certainly I don’t want to make it three,” said Grayson.

“There are five games left of the season and we have to keep on improving.

“Our season hasn’t finished yet, we have to have the same mentality and character that we would have in the first week of the season.”

Avoiding runs of defeats is a side of North End’s character which is admired by Grayson.

Four defeats in a row ahead of tomorrow’s meeting have plunged MK Dons deep into relegation trouble.

Said Grayson: “You have to be consistent and have that element to your character.

“We trust these lads to go into games and try to do what you have asked of them.

“When you look back at some of the defeats we have had, some of them certainly haven’t been deserved.

“Probably the only game we really got well beaten in was at Huddersfield on Boxing Day.

“When we have lost others, we have always been within touching distance of getting something out of them.

“We have character, desire and spirit, which can go along way in matches.”

After taking only 17 players to Middlesbrough last week, Grayson hopes to have bigger numbers available tomorrow.

Definitely back in the squad is Adam Reach who had to sit it out against parent club Boro.

Tom Clarke hopes to return after concussion, while injuries to Calum Woods and Jordan Hugill will be tested today.

Grayson said: “With it being a head injury, Tom has to see the doctor to get clarification as to whether he is fit to play.

“If the doctor says ‘no’, he doesn’t play, simple as that.

“Tom’s health is the main thing. We expect that he will be okay but we have to wait and see.

“Calum and Jordan are making progress but have not joined in training yet.

“We have got Adam back from being not be able to play against his parent club.”

Turning his thoughts to MK’s plight, Grayson said: “They aren’t going to give up lightly, they will still be fighting for survival and thinking they can get out of trouble.

“I know Karl Robinson really well, I’ve had battles with him for the last five or six years.”