PNE to go on the attack

Preston North End will adopt more of an attacking approach to their clash with Huddersfield at Deepdale tomorrow as they look to build on the midweek stalemate at Derby.
Alan BrowneAlan Browne
Alan Browne

The Lilywhites put defence first against the Rams and took a deserved point, a result which edged them a place higher up the Championship.

Simon Grayson felt the draw against a promotion-pushing team justified the caution and pointed out that the better chances fell his side’s way on the counter-attack.

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“We set up the team in the way we did the other night because we felt it was the best thing to do,” said the North End boss.

“We got our rewards from it because we put in a really good team performance and got a draw which I thought was the least we deserved.

“However, we will have a different outlook on the game against Huddersfield, that is for sure.”

It seems that the system will be tweaked tomorrow from the 3-5-2 used at Derby.

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That saw Adam Reach used as a second striker off Joe Garner, his role partly to nullify the threat of George Thorne deep in the Rams midfield as well as giving Garner some company.

Reach could be back on the wing against the Terriers, with Callum Robinson, Eoin Doyle and Jordan Hugill the options to join Garner up front.

There will definitely be a change in midfield, with Ben Pearson starting a two-match ban after collecting his 10th booking in midweek.

Alan Browne is Pearson’s likely replacement, although John Welsh could come into the equation after missing out on the matchday squad against Derby.

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After being unable to land a new striker during the transfer window, Grayson acknowledges that the goals column will be under scrutiny.

“Putting the ball in the net is the most difficult part of football,” said Grayson.

“That is why the best strikers in most divisions tend to cost a lot of money.

“We have been unfortunate at times with certain chances Joe has had, so too ones which have fallen to others.

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“We are just lacking a bit of something, whether that is self belief or a cutting edge.

“It is an area we know we have to improve on but it is not cheap to get the players who can really made the difference.

“As a team we are getting into some good positions and creating chances.

“It is getting the balance right between being too open as a team and not so open.

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“If we had gone to Derby and matched their system, playing an open, expansive game, we would have lost.”

Tomorrow’s game will see Grayson up against the club he managed for 11 months.

Said Grayson: “I’m not bitter towards them.

“I was disappointed at the time but I’ve since enjoyed my three years here.

“There’s no extra motivation to beat them, I want to win it as much I did at Derby in midweek or want to at Wolves next week.”