Posh add spice for PNE

Joe Garner (left) could be paired with Stuart Beavon up front tonight
Joe Garner (left) could be paired with Stuart Beavon up front tonight
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Simon Grayson hopes that he has talked about defeat for the last time this season as he sets about the task of putting Preston North End back on the winning track.

The Lilywhites boss will be looking for a swift response from his side to Saturday’s loss at Swindon when they face Peterborough at Deepdale tonight (7.45pm).

That was only North End’s fifth league reverse of the campaign and Grayson hopes that remains the status quo.

Posh’s visit is a battle of fifth versus sixth, and a win for PNE would stretch their lead over Darren Ferguson’s men to 14 points.

Grayson said: “When you look at the last three games which we haven’t won, we have not been dominated by the opposition.

“We should have won the Stevenage game and against Sheffield United we didn’t get the breaks and decisions.

“Against Swindon we were slightly off it but still had some chances in the first half to get something out of it, and also at the back end of the game.

“Overall, our performance was disappointing and I haven’t stood here too many times this season and said that.

“There is a resilience about this group – they don’t give up things without a fight.

“Hopefully we can be talking about only having had five defeats come the end of the season.

“We want to finish positively and keep the momentum going. I really do believe in these lads.

“When I challenged them a couple of weeks ago to win the last 10 games of the season I certainly believed they could it.

“Maybe the results against Stevenage and Sheffield United left us feeling a little bit flat and deflated for Swindon.”

Grayson is likely to make a couple of changes to the side this evening in a bid for spark and freshness.

Stuart Beavon could be in line for his first start since December after some lively performances as a substitute in recent games.

If he is paired up front with Joe Garner, it would be only the second time this season that partnership has started a game – the previous time was against Barnet in the FA Cup.

Club captain John Welsh is likely to come back into the centre of midfield after two games on the bench.

Said Grayson: “It is a quick turnaround between games but we won’t be making eight or nine changes.

“We’re not in a bad place and want to keep the consistency going. We might make a change or two.

“Players have come into the side and done well. You think of Stuart Beavon at the weekend but also David Buchanan and Josh Brownhill, who have done well recently.”

Tonight’s game is the first back at Deepdale for Posh boss Ferguson since Preston sacked him in December 2010.

Fergie Jnr and Grayson know each other well, with the PNE boss looking forward to going toe-to-toe with him.

“Darren and myself did our coaching badges together,” said Grayson.

“He is a passionate manager and will be desperate to get Peterborough back up. I think Darren will be the first to admit that they have been a bit inconsistent this season.”